The honeymoon phase is very common for those new to an Ashtanga practice. This phase usually entails lots of reading, post-class stretching, and foam-rolling, as well as (more commonly) visits to chiropractors, acupuncturists, and body-workers.
It's as though, after years of orbiting their bodies from a distant remove, people land back in their own skin, only to discover a wealth of sensations. There's a strong tendency to dive deep into these sensations, often in an attempt to "fix" or "balance" them.
I have done this system of Yoga since 1998, and I have taught Mysore-style daily since 2005, so I can share my insights into what some have jokingly referred to as the "obsessing Ashtangi" stage.
However, I have cunningly placed my thoughts on the Portland Ashtanga Yoga blog! Firstly, it's a trick to lure you to the site. It's also a way to keep this email as uncluttered as possible.
Click to read THE INDIFFERENT ASHTANGI.
LED PRIMARY THIS FRIDAY!
This Friday (March 28!) we gather to practice the Primary Series. There will be one session: 6-7:20a.m. Please arrive prior to class start time.
This is a donation-based class. I am collecting funds for Living Yoga, a Portland-based non-profit that brings the study and practice of yoga to youth and adults who are behind bars, or in drug and alcohol treatment programs.
I suggest a donation of $20, approximate to the cost of a drop-in at a studio.
(Upcoming led primary classes will be held April 25, May 30, and Thursday, June 26 ((Friday, June 27 is a moon day: no class)).
All levels welcome; no additional charge for this class.
APRIL INTRO TO MYSORE INTENSIVE!
There are four spots remaining (of five)! The upcoming April Intro to Mysore Intensive is 2 weeks long, and runs April 7-18.
Intro to Mysore Intensive - 2 Week
Time: 6:30-7:45 a.m.
Dates: April 7-April18
DAVID WILLIAMS VISITS PORTLAND APRIL 3–6 2014
Senior Ashtanga teacher David Williams will be visiting Yoga on Yamhill for a weekend workshop April 3-6.
David has practiced Ashtanga since 1973, when he began learning this system from Pattabhi Jois at his home in Mysore, India. He was the first non-Indian to be taught the complete Ashtanga Yoga system of asanas and pranayama directly from Jois. David also introduced Ashtanga to the West when he brought Jois to the U.S. for the first time in 1975.
Be sure to reserve your space at Yoga on Yamhill now!
I was moved by my friend Paul Gold to write a response to a post he had created, "The Obsessing Ashtangi."
When discussing the “obsessive Ashtangi,” it’s also important to acknowledge the unspoken systemic values of the Mysore-style Ashtanga system or else we risk merely blaming the victim. To not unearth these values is to remain blind to their risks.
Chief among those values is that more poses is better, and more advanced series or poses are even better.
There are a host of ways this is transmitted as a value to students, such as postures ‘given’ by ‘towering’ authority figure in a public group setting, as well as the general tones of respect, admiration and awe used for those practicing complicated postures.
Beginners to the Ashtanga Mysore system also have no conception of the years of practice put in by those around them, and it is therefore very easy to assume that the floating and bending is what Ashtanga is supposed to look like.
Underneath these assumptions also lies the unspoken promise of our lives and yoga practice as a project that can be ‘completed’ or ‘finished.’
Our hips are not light switches or bits of binary code (on/off, open/closed). Any strength, flexibility and mobility are part of a process that only exists in relationship to conditions (in this case, the movement demanded, the plane of resistance, the joint angle, etc, etc).
Ashtanga Yoga is a process. It is not a scavenger hunt of postures, with the winner collecting kaivalya, or a recipe in which ingredients are mixed perfectly for samadhi pie.
The “obsessive ashtangi” is an important stage people should go through in practice — it is the honeymoon phase of romance.
Hopefully as teachers we can encourage restraint and commitment.
Also, hopefully we can use the honeymoon phase to ask important questions and have enriching conversations: why DO we want to do marychyasana D? Why do we want to stand up from a backbend? What do we think will happen in our lives?
Jason owns and directs Portland Ashtanga Yoga.