Tag Archives: ashtanga

Another Portrait of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga with Basia Lipska

Ashtanga TV

With Miami’s Kino MacGregor out of the running for Oprah’s “Your Own Show” contest, we look to Bali’s Anthony “Prem” Carlisi and Heather “Radha” Duplex on youtube

KPJAYI: new Jois Yoga Shala in Encinitas

Sharath, Saraswathi and Manju to teach in the new Jois Shala in Encinitas, California, from the 20th of August. From kpjayi.org:

Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Classes in Boston

Ashtanga Yoga Boston
186 Hampshire Street. Cambridge, MA 02139
Sunday – Friday Mysore and led
George Whiteside, Jean Cho, Alexandra Moreano

Back Bay Yoga Studio
364 Boylston Street, 2nd Floor.  Boston, MA 02116
Sunday – Friday Mysore and led
Kate ODonnell, Anna Neuman

North End Yoga
256 Hanover St., 3rd Floor.  Boston , MA 02113
Sunday – Friday Mysore
Randy Aromando

Also see:

Philadelphia
NY Mysore
NY Led

Practice and all is coming? Western vs Eastern approach interview

An interesting discussion is going on in the Yahoo Ashtanga Group, where some practitioners encourage us to (respectfully?) question the contemporary yoga traditions as they are being “abused” by brahmins, claiming that Westerners have the advantage of being able to «go beyond dogmas».

I completely agree, everything should be questioned. Everything, including the questioning, intellectual mind, which is just another judgement that in the West we often hold to be the Ultimate Truth.

The point is, we are also conditioned by our culture, and as human beings we are not always aware of the dogmas our minds operate with, so how can we accuse other people with a different approach to learning/knowledge of not being able to surpass theirs?

In the first part of the yoga sutras, Patañjali explains that correct knowledge is direct, inferred or proven as factual (Y.S I.7). However, he also warns that verbal knowledge devoid of substance is vikalpa or imagination (Y.S I.9), and insists that truth-bearing knowledge is first-hand, intuitive knowledge (Y.S 1.49), different from the knowledge taken from books, memory or deduction.

This intuitive knowledge tends to be forgotten, undervalued, or directly despised in the West as superstition, blind faith, simply not valid, since it doesn’t come from inference. Isn’t that another dogma?

In this interview translated from drukpamexico.org, Tibetan buddhist teacher SS Gyalwang Drukpa throws some light on the difficulties Westerners experience along the spiritual path:

Q: How do you see the understanding of Tibetan Buddhism by Westerners, do you see any difference in the way it is comprehended and practiced in the West, compared to the Tibetans?

SS: I see a big difference between Western and Tibetan students. Now that I mix with very different kinds of people, I think that Westerners have a very peculiar way to start their spiritual life, very peculiar. There’s nothing wrong with it, it is just unique, very different from the Tibetan way.

Tibetans have a structure that is almost fanatic. They already have a path that’s been built by their cultural and spiritual ancestors, so it is already there. They don’t need to create it, to invent it, and that helps a lot. But the Western way is very interesting to me, because they have to create everything from A to Z. For this reason, they need to pay a lot of attention, they need to put a lot of effort into it to understand, they have to use their brains a lot, their intellect, and that’s what they’re doing, that’s what they’re fighting.

However, in terms of what is real, of the practice, I think that Westerners are still far behind. This is because they use their intellectual knowledge very well, they do the intellectual effort really well, that is the interesting part. But when it comes to experiential knowledge, they can barely do it. They have too much intellectual knowledge in their minds, which makes people go crazy.

It may be because too much intellectual knowledge makes people go crazy, or because your head becomes too big and you turn into an idiot. It is very easy to get carried away by stupidity, or by madness.

And it is not that holy madness: some people believe that when they go crazy like that it is because of that crazy wisdom, and it’s not like that. You know, in Tibetan Buddhism we usually talk about «holy madness» and then Westerners think «oh, this must be it». This is totally wrong, it is regular madness. This is the main issue in Buddhist societies, particularly in the West.

On the other hand, the way Western people understand is very good, very interesting, because they use their intelligence, their knowledge, their effort and their brains.

In our case in Tibet, we don’t really need to use our brain a lot, we only need devotion because the structure is already there. So anything the Guru, the Teacher says, you only need to follow. He’s already done all that previous hard work and he’s merely giving it to you. Whereas in the West, the Teacher gives it to you, but you need to work it really hard, this is they kind of society Westerners live in.

Q: So would you recommend that we focus more on faith and devotion and not only on the intellect?

SS: Yes, yes, this is what I always recommend, devotion is completely necessary. Devotion meaning clear understanding: you have to put yourself in a state of deep understanding, enter deeply that state of realization. Even if you don’t really know what realization is, try to get deeper into realization with your heart, rather than keeping it in you mind. Just put your heart into realization, and try to find something really deep there. Then you will obtain true compassion, true devotion, really easily. This will mantain a balance between intellectual and experiential knowledge.

Even if you don’t have much experience, it doesn’t matter, you have to experiment with it, try it out. Don’t just look at it, experience it. Try something and then you’ll know what it tastes like. Is it delicious, is it bitter? Does it have any taste at all? Or what?

When you try it you’ll know how to talk about it, you’ll know what to think about that particular thing. Otherwise, you’re just exposing everything, and you think you know everything. If you say: «This is yellow, this is white, this is red, this is beautiful or this is not» and you think you know everything and you haven’t even tried it, you haven’t even experienced it, that knowledge is only in your mind. That is the kind of knowledge that most Westerners have. Western students have a lot of knowledge because they’ve read thousands of books, they’ve listened to thousands of teachings and they know every corner of every teaching. Vajrayana, Mahayana, Hinduism, Christianism, Chatolicism, Judaism, EVERYTHING they know. That is fantastic. But they haven’t had the experience, they don’t really know anything!

So they doubt everything: «Er… I don’t know if this is sweet or not, someone told me it was sweet but I don’t know, it looks bitter to me, but I don’t know if it’s bitter…»

So take it, experience it, try it and you will know what it is. This is the factor that is lacking in Western societies.

___________________ end of the interview ____________________

Ashtanga: Stress-Free Yoga in Mysore (Video)

Live from India (mysore blogs, gettem while they’re hot)

Finding the Strawberry:

Tales of an ashtanga midwife-to-be

…There is a lot that I never imagined possible that has happened on this trip. Unfortunately, I dont think that it would all translate in a blog. I have had numerous “ah-ha” moments and really grown in both my practice and in my spirit...

A Second Dose of Ashtanga from Mysore

…So, here I am, milling around waiting to wander down to the shala to do the only part of the Mysore routine that I really, really don’t like doing. For a led class, it’s prudent to arrive very early, at least 45 minutes, and wait on the steps with all the other people in your group. This pretty much assures you of a reasonable space i.e. not on the stage or, God help me, in the washroom as happened last year…

Queen of the East Village:

My home town is calling me back

…Ya, ya… not five minutes after I’d gotten under the net & into bed last night, at 8pm, the power went. Fuck YOU Mysore! I said. I got up & lit a candle & incense. For some reason, I always do this when the power goes at night. You’ve gotta take periodic cold showers too and readjust the pony tail to top of, rather than back of, head…


Insideowl

…Depth at the expense of complexity? I dunno. But my friends the hashtangis are a warning to me: empty mind not same as quiet mind.

The last few days I have fumbled around for the off switch and found it, gotten back in to work. It seems my subconscious is willing to get behind that decision, more or less. That said, I love a little steam of devotional babble. Maybe there is something to the notion of praying without ceasing…

Ashtanga Journal

…he said “you come to Intermediate led class this week”! I could not believe my ears, I was so excited and this was so unexpected! After Chakra Bandhasana and a squash, I grabbed my mats and walked to the changing room for finishing postures…. After doing the finishing postures, resting and sitting for a while, I was already doubting myself, “did i hear correctly, did he really say that, did he really mean that I come to Sunday intermediate led?”…

2010: The Year of Ashtanga Books

The uncertainty of practice in 2009 and 2010 – Is the shala open?  Will Sharath be teaching?  etc. – seems to be coinciding with a sudden surge of literature on and of a yoga that has been notoriously silent (except in blogs and secret chat rooms of course).

Speaking of which, the blog “On the Ashtanga path while on mother Earth” cued us in on a couple of recent additions to our Yoga Reading List 2010

(clipped from industry press releases, although we’d be happy to review some copies…)

“A BOLD, EYE-OPENING CHRONICLE OF YOGA’S RISE TO UBIQUITY IN AMERICA”

THE SUBTLE BODY:  The Story of Yoga in America

In The Subtle Body, Stefanie Syman tells the surprising story of yoga’s transformation from a centuries-old spiritual discipline to a multi billion-dollar American industry.

Yoga’s history in America is longer and richer than even its most devoted practitioners realize. It was present in Emerson’s New England, and by the turn of the twentieth century it was fashionable among the leisure class. And yet when Americans first learned about yoga, what they learned was that it was a dangerous, alien practice that would corrupt body and soul.

A century later, you can find yoga in gyms, malls, and even hospitals, and the arrival of a yoga studio in a neighborhood is a signal of cosmopolitanism. How did it happen? It did so, Stefanie Syman explains, through a succession of charismatic yoga teachers, who risked charges of charlatanism as they promoted yoga in America, and through generations of yoga students, who were deemed unbalanced or even insane for their efforts. The Subtle Body tells the stories of these people, including Henry David Thoreau, Pierre A. Bernard, Margaret Woodrow Wilson, Christopher Isherwood, Sally Kempton, and Indra Devi.

From New England, the book moves to New York City and its new suburbs between the wars, to colonial India, to postwar Los Angeles, to Haight-Ashbury in its heyday, and back to New York City post-9/11. In vivid chapters, it takes in celebrities from Gloria Swanson and George Harrison to Christy Turlington and Madonna.

And it offers a fresh view of American society, showing how a seemingly arcane and foreign practice is as deeply rooted here as baseball or ballet. This epic account of yoga’s rise is absorbing and often inspiring—a major contribution to our understanding of our society.

STEFANIE SYMAN , a literature graduate of Yale, was a founder of Feed, an early, award-winning Web magazine. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and Yoga Journal. A native of Los Angeles, she lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and has practiced yoga for fifteen years.

“AN UNPRECEDENTED PORTRAIT OF A GREAT YOGA TEACHER AND THE WAYS IN WHICH TEACHINGS AND TRADITIONS ARE PASSED ON”

GURUJI:  A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Through the Eyes of His Students

Guy Donahaye and Eddie Stern
NORTH POINT PRESS
It is a rare and remarkable soul who becomes legendary during the course of his life by virtue of great service to others. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois was such a soul, and through his teaching of yoga, he transformed the lives of countless people. The school in Mysore that he founded and ran for more than sixty years trained students who, through the knowledge they received and their devotion, have helped to spread the daily practice of traditional Ashtanga yoga to tens of thousands around the world.  Guruji paints a unique portrait of a unique man, revealed through the accounts of his students. Among the thirty men and women interviewed here are Indian students from Jois’s early teaching days; intrepid Americans and Europeans who traveled to Mysore to learn yoga in the 1970s; and important family members who studied as well as lived with Jois and continue to practice and teach abroad or run the Ashtanga Yoga Institute today. Many of the contributors (as well as the authors) are influential teachers who convey their experience of Jois every day to students in many different parts of the globe. Anyone interested in the living tradition of yoga will find Guruji richly rewarding.

GUY DONAHAYE and EDDIE STERN
became students of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in 1991. Donahaye is director of the Ashtanga Yoga Shala New York City. Stern is director of the Ashtanga Yoga New York and Sri Ganesh Temple, and copublisher and editor of Namarupa.

MARKETING:  Author Appearances

Releases July 20, 2010

Krishnamacharya:  His Life and Teachings

Written by A.G. Mohan

Krishnamacharya

Krishnamacharya was a renowned Indian yoga master, Ayurvedic healer, and scholar who modernized yoga practice and whose students—including B. K. S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, T. K. V. Desikachar, and Indra Devi—dramatically popularized yoga in the West. This personal tribute to the father of modern yoga, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888–1989), is written by one of his longtime disciples, a well-respected yoga teacher and yoga therapist in his own right.

A. G. Mohan draws on his own memories and notes, and on Krishnamacharya’s diaries and recorded material, to present a fascinating view of the man and his teachings, and of his own warm and inspiring relationship with the master. It’s a valuable read for all yoga students, and an essential one for all experienced yoga teachers and yoga therapists who want to understand the source of their tradition and practice.

A. G. Mohan studied with Sri T. Krishnamacharya for eighteen years until the master’s death in 1989. He is the author of numerous books. He lives in Chennai, India, with his wife, Indra, and son, Ganesh. The Mohans also teach workshops in the United States, India, and Europe.

Releases July 13, 2010

No fear, no paranoia

“Mysore: Here, The Mind Is Without Fear

People of various nationalities, their well-toned bodies glistening with sweat in the early morning sun, gather around Imran’s mobile tender coconut shop for a ritual drink in an upscale Mysore locality. There is natural as well as a cultivated calm as they respond to questions about their safety following the blasts at the German Bakery in Pune last week.” (read more)


He who thinks him (the Self) to be the killer, and who experiences him (the Self) as the killed - both of them know not. He (the Self) neither kills nor is killed. [Bg. 2.19]

NB!! Yoga Visa

Planning to study yoga in India? From now on you will need a yoga visa. Check out the latest news from the KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore:

# From March 2010, all students coming to study at KPJAYI must enter India on a yoga visa, as required by Indian law. You may email shala@kpjayi.org for admission letters from our Institute to include with your visa application form to the Indian Embassy in your country. Upon arrival, students should follow the relevant registration formalities with the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) in Mysore.

# Please note, according to Indian law: There should be gap of at least 2 months between two visits to India on tourist and other visas.

# For more information on visa and registration requirements, please refer to the Bureau of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs, India. They have published clear rules and instructions for foreigners coming to India.