All posts filed under: Yoga History

AYC ’13: 10 Lessons in yoga philosophy

One of the discussion panels was to talk about the 8 limbs of yoga, and each teacher was supposed to cover one of the limbs and then dive deeper into yamas and niyamas. I’ll preface this post by saying I have not done any deep reading on yoga philosophy on my own, so much of everything that was discussed felt like new information. For the yoga teachers in the room who have been exposed to a ton of literature as part of their teacher training, I’m sure they were all nodding their heads while I scribbled down notes in hopes of looking some stuff up on Google later.  With that said, the panel went on various tangents and didn’t necessarily cover each one in equal depth. So instead of sharing my notes in all its disorganized glory, I thought I’d give you my philosophy noob’s 10 take-aways. Eddie Stern is a yoga philosophy BEAST. This man – at the young age of 45 – has such a wealth of knowledge to share, and he also …

AYC ’13: How ashtanga has changed

While there was a separate workshop I attended with Nancy about “How I was taught” (which I’ll save for a later post), the teachers discussed the changes they’ve seen in ashtanga from when they first began to practice. Some of it was the postures themselves, and some was a change in attitude. It’s hard to believe that ashtanga once was lighthearted, relaxed and not nearly as serious as it is today. A faster pace in teaching We got adjustments for every posture every day. He taught quickly – new poses every day. Today, people are held in primary for a while, and back bending didn’t come in until after we learned intermediate. – Nancy The organization of the advanced sequences Advanced A used to take 3 hours to do. The 3rd series is now equal in length as primary and intermediate. – Tim Advanced A is now split as 3rd and 4th series. Advanced B is now 5th and 6th series. Primary is the most important, and Guruji would say, “Advanced just for demonstration.” – …

AYC ’13: The love for and legacy of Pattabhi Jois

By the end of the 3.5 day Confluence, it was exceptionally clear how much of an impact Guruji made on the senior teachers and yoga as a whole. Through his compassion and dedication to teaching, he’s handed down an amazing tool in the genius that is the ashtanga system as well as an attitude and mindset that continues to be carried forward from teacher to student. These were some of my favorite quotes: Yoga was inclusive Guruji was fearless in encouraging women to carry on. To him, all people are equal. – Dena He had a way to make everyone feel loved and included. – David He wanted everyone to do yoga because he wanted to help people. Because of him, yoga is a household word. – Nancy Guruji’s passion for teaching Guruji loved to teach. It pained him to take days off. – Tim He was always there, always present. Even in his final years when he could barely hold his head up. Teaching was like investing in the yoga family – his yoga …

AYC ’13: The path to meeting Guruji

The first group panel discussion was about the legacy of Patthabi Jois, and each teacher gave their story of how they met Guruji.  What I loved about these stories was both their personal histories and a shared history of how ashtanga was introduced to the Western world. When we think about how most of us today began practicing yoga, it probably involved pulling up a website, looking at a class schedule and picking a teacher based on a convenient time and a short description. All of these senior teachers fell into ashtanga, whether their meeting was by chance or by a proper introduction, and they all had something fun to share. Eddie Stern’s second trip to Mysore was in search of yoga and yoga philosophy. It led him to a Communist bookstore, where he ran into someone who recommended Patthabi Jois, whom Eddie had never heard of. The directions he was given pointed to a police station… and then he met Guruji. Dena Kingsberg’s story was similar to Eddie’s in that she was traveling through …

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