Parampara is a Sanskrit word that describes the warm and lively transfer of knowledge from teacher to pupil. A knowledge based on direct and practical experience, and physical presence.
It is the basis of the Ashtanga lineage, the teacher and the student form human links in the chain of instruction that has been passed down for thousands of years.
In order for our yoga teachings to be effective, true and complete, it should come from within parampara. Within this Sanskrit word is the understanding that knowledge can be transferred only after the student has spent years with an experienced teacher to whom there has been surrender in body, mind, speech and inner being. Only then is he fit to receive knowledge. This transfer from teacher to student is parampara.
The dharma, or duty, of the student is to practice diligently and to strive to understand the teachings. The perfection of knowledge – and of yoga — lies beyond learning and perfecting the physical practice; knowledge grows from the mutual love and respect between the student, the teacher and the tradition - a relationship that can only be cultivated over time.
The teacher’s dharma is to teach yoga exactly as it was learned from his teacher. The teaching should be presented with a good heart, with good purpose and with noble intentions.
The bonding of teacher and student is a tradition reaching back many thousands of years in India, and is the foundation of a rich, spiritual heritage. The teacher can make his students steady – he can teach them the practice truly to make them firm while life is not.
It is important for the teacher and the student to teach and to accept the teachings as they are presented, without allowing ego or personal preference to alter the simple tradition as it is given. The true parampara tradition is stepping onto a path that has been walked by many students and teachers before, and the discipline is in succumbing to that same path without letting personal desire to make our mark, change that path. There is a beauty in surrendering to an ancient practice and accepting it as it is without change.
If we can be courageous enough to do this it means we see deep in ourselves the grasping toward and the pushing away that is present in all of us, the desire to stand out, to be seen, to be better, best and different. It takes great courage to surrender in this context and be a part of a greater path. In this space we can stand nakedly before ourselves and perhaps start to see our personal stories and patterns.