Friday, May 24, 2019

Take a quiz... What type of ashtangi you are?

I read today on an Ashtanga forum about the "circus" that surrounds Sharath's workshops. It was an honest and personal view of today's ashtanga world.

I wonder is that such a thing as "ashtanga community"? This large led-primary workshops are a great money-making machines for advanced teachers. They say, the workshops are good to connect them (teachers) with students and this is supposed to create some form of community. So probably such thing do exist.

When I first started ashtanga yoga, back in 2006, I really loved the "communal" aspect of practicing, well, meeting with “my kind of people". However, after a few years I discovered that I really was not so much "commune" type of a person. I am more content doing a daily home practice. I occasionally like going to drop-in classes with my teacher.

It was only at my home that I could invoke a meditative aspect of ashtanga yoga - conquer my racing mind, focus on the breath, and fully experience all of my body’s sensations.

In classes, large or small, the competitive nature and drive to progress is unavoidable.

Three Types of Ashtangis Today

I am very sorry to read these words about Sharath's ashtanga workshops but I am not so surprised. I am hoping you who read this are able to use your judgements, step back and see the positive of the workshop experience, to look others and yourself, your feelings, and to find a way to be grateful for the good fortune in life to attend the workshop.

There are 3 types of ashtangis today. Take a quiz, which type you belong? :)

First, there are ashtangis who do not respect Sharath and his teaching. They belong to "underground" ashtanga community. They are trained by Guruji itself or his most senior students, David Svenson, Mark Darby, Chuck Miller and many others "old school" guys... and of course, Manju Jois.

Manju is Guruji’s eldest son and I’m surprised by how often he gets overlooked when students talk about the Jois family.

Manju teaches in the old way, the way he learned from his father, before there were hundreds of students waiting to get into the shala. He encourages students to mix first and second series, to do as many postures as they have the energy for and rarely tells them to stop. He teaches that we must listen to ourselves to know to do pose modification and to continue to the end.

This is the one of the beautiful things about the original Guruji's old school teaching method. It teaches us how to listen, feel, and explore. It connects us to our intuition and it is not a rule book which tells us what and how much to practice each day.

Second type of ashtangis today are those who make a "circus" around Sharath and call him Paramaguru. They are dedicated practitioners of ashtanga yoga, regularly making trips to Mysore and hoping that one day they will became certified in ashtanga yoga.

The investment of time and money combined with the shattering of months/years of expectations, I must say, must be extremely disappointing. is a relatively new wellness website dedicated to Paramaguru Sharath Jois. They are helping people improve their lives through yoga, workouts, guided meditations, healthy recipes, pain prevention techniques, and all kinds of life advice...

The third type of ashtangis today are those who neither give a shit about Sharath nor about "old school" teachers. They are focused only on practice without much involvement in ashtanga community.

Despite differences in old versus new ashtanga yoga schools, the vinyasas, the central tenets of breath, bandhas, and drishti remain at the core of our practice. This is what unite us. The ashtanga practice have stayed pure and almost unchanged for the last 25 years.

There is no “a method” or “best method.” There are many approaches that, when practiced with correct intention, can all lead to greater health and happiness.

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