053: Yoga Mentors and Lineage with Chase Bossart
On today’s episode, Shannon invites Chase Bossart who with great warmth and humour shares with us some of his experiences with his mentor T.K.V. Desikachar. Chase discusses the hallmark of Desikachar’s teachings that he’s very much taken to heart, the importance of mentorship and the sometimes necessary end of this relationship.
Chase was introduced to yoga in 1991 when he took a semester abroad in India as a philosophy major. He was interested in learning more about Eastern philosophy and took a class in yoga theory. This is where he met his mentor T.K.V. Desikachar, one of the class’ regular instructors and become immersed in yoga and Desikachar’s teachings.
Chase has spent over 4 years in India and several years in China (becoming fluent in Mandarin). Expanding on his knowledge of Eastern philosophy, Chase earned a Masters degree in Religious Studies with an emphasis in Indian Philosophy in 1996.
Now living North of San Francisco, Chase has travelled frequently to give workshops and training on a wide array of yoga and yoga therapy topics since 2003. Chase teaches courses and workshops in person and provides an online meditation session and online study session of Yoga Sutras and Bhagavad Gita once a week. He is also passionate about pranayama, meditation, chanting and the therapeutic application of yoga therapy. He loves to lead experiential workshops that demonstrate yoga philosophy’s practical applications in daily life.
5:25 Studying with his mentor T.K.V Desikachar in India
8:35 Hallmark of Desikachar’s teachings is individualized, one-on-one sessions where you participate in your own healing
10:05 The feeling Chase has when teaching to online students and in-person students
12:00 Online Thursday night study of Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita with Chase- study of Sanskrit and most importantly how does that apply to one’s life by pausing, responding and sharing with each other
13:10 Incorporating Sanskrit and yoga philosophy in our practice and the importance of finding context for why we do the techniques we do, recognizing that yoga is an intentionally engineered practice with the science behind understanding how the human system functions
18:00 Chase’s appreciation for Desikachar’s ability to break teachings down and applying them in a practical sense to everyday life
19:05 Importance of taking time to take teachings in- not rushing through training and philosophical texts so a sustainable transformation is possible
20:20 Differentiating between yoga as information and yoga as being (understanding why your life is unfolding as it is, seeing yoga play out in your life, allowing for feedback and study with a mentor)
22:10 The benefit of having a mentor- difficult to digest studies without a reliable outside reference, help you stay on your path, cue you to reflect and the importance of having an established relationship with someone you have faith in and trust
25:20 Chase details some of the more difficult experiences as Desikachar’s mentee and how moving through them helped him establish different patterns and the refinement of his person and behaviour
32:30 Chase’s belief that teachings should be the main focus- not so much the lineage and T.K.V. Desikachar’s hesitancy to give a name to his yoga teachings (named Viniyoga for a period of time) when he very much believed that yoga should flow through someone in an individualized way
36:10 The problem with lineage and putting yoga into groups- divisiveness, can overemphasize form over function
37:45 Desikachar’s taught the importance of relinquishing rather than looking at the effort and asanas
39:20 An example of relinquishing- being attached to how things are such as groups you are in, your home, your job and seeing that as primary importance
42:55 When and why a mentorship relationship may end
47:55 The importance of honesty and communication in mentor-mentee bond and when there may be a shift in the relationship
51:00 What mentorship should provide such as understanding how the mentee’s process works and helping to hold space for that process
53:35 Yoga Wells Institute Therapeutic Yoga Trainings
53:20 Importance of teachers undergoing process themselves, doing their own practice with an open, malleable fashion
57:00 Upcoming Yoga Therapy Teacher Certification Course with Chase in Nashville, Tennessee
58:55 Chase’s work with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) and its importance in legitimizing the practice via accreditation and guidelines
1:02:19 Chase shares what his own practice looks like while gently reminding teachers to find their own way
1:04:20 If you struggle with your own practice- “When you need it the most it’s harder to do.”
1:08:40 Shannon’s closing thoughts and key takeaways
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org- send an email to set up a 30-minute interview process to help find you a mentor
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