+++A letter from Jason at Portland Ashtanga Yoga+++
A few weeks back, Katie E. (a.k.a. Katie #2 (of 3)) reminded me that Portland Ashtanga Yoga turned 5 this year! She gifted us with a mighty fine 5-year-anniversary needlepoint.
I'm considering it as our first t-shirt.
That makes five years of daily Mysore classes, 5-6 days a week, under my own banner. I've got another anniversary coming up, too --- I've taught daily in Portland since summer 2007, which means next year will be my 10-year daily Mysore anniversay.
There is an intimacy that only arises from duration coupled with consistency. People come and go, find Ashtanga, practice it, and complete it. Their interest and passion arise, peaks, and ebbs.
We've celebrated births and mourned deaths. There've been a couple --- thankfully not many --- dire illnesses and tragedies. There's been the joy and vibrancy of people coming together. People have gotten married, some have unfortunately split apart. Their kids have graduated middle school, high school, and college. A few have finished grad school and even med school.
For me personally, the seed of my desire and interest in Ashtanga Yoga remains the same, although the way it flowers has changed. Currently that means more breathing and seated contemplative practice, longer holds in fewer postures, and less 'jumpings.'
It was frightening to realize my interest in the way I approached the practice of Ashtanga had changed --- and how much of my personal identity was intertwined with a younger man's performance of Ashtanga. I clung to the series as something impermanent and unchanging.
The gift I receive from all of you is one of perspective. To survey a Mysore room every day for 5 years, through the seasons of the year and of life, is to watch a vast and thriving garden, in each of you the seed for practice expressing itself in different and no less striking ways.
It is a reflection and reminder that this practice, though seemingly so fixed and arbitrary, blossoms in an endless variety of ways.
Thank you all for helping me thrive these last five years. I hope I can help you practice for the next five --- and beyond!
+++Ashtanga Road Trip: Tim Miller in Bend, Memorial Day Weekend+++
When was the last time you boosted a random car and hit the road in the dead of night, a couple buddies in tow, and enough truck-stop speed to hit the opposite coast?
Well, now that you practice Ashtanga, you probably plan more sensible road trips. Tara and I (and our offspring) are planning a sensible road trip to Bend on Memorial Day weekend. We will practice with our teacher Tim Miller.
You should consider going! Tim will be at Bend Ashtanga Yoga.
Thursdays from 9–10 a.m. Dates: April 7, 14, 21, and 28. Limited to just 3 people! Sign up now!
+++Yuval Workshop in April+++
Speaking of handstand mastery, my friend Yuval is making his way all the way from France to spread the handstand gospel in a series of workshops to be held April 23 and 24. He is a terrific guy and a true handstand wizard. There are about 3 spots each left in the Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced sessions, so if you're considering enrolling, don't delay and enroll now.
Here are dates, times, cost, location ... and check out Yuval's handstand line!
+++Ashtanga: The Rolls Royce of Yoga+++
Mysore Ashtanga is the Apple and Tesla of Yoga practices (Steve Jobs Apple, not Tim Cook). It is an artisanal practice, versus an industrial one. Mysore style does not scale well at all --- it is very challenging to teach to groups of beginners and drop-in students, and the larger the group, the greater the difficulty, and the process of instruction degrades if steps are grouped or batched or accelerated.
I taught led Primary Series classes at Yoga Pearl, a phenomenal drop-in studio, for about 5 years (twice a week, 50 weeks a year, so about 500 classes maybe?), and this is part of the reason I abandoned teaching them.
An industrial yoga practice is constructed for a Bell curve --- one teaches to the middle --- and designed with a group in mind, which means all edges to an asana sequence are sanded down to minimize risk.
An artisanal practice, on the other hand, is crafted for an individual practitioner. The edges are not sanded down; rather they are individual encompassed.
A quick heuristic to determine industrial vs. artisanal: the teacher should know the student's name.
I personally have difficulty doing that with more than 3 or 4 people. I learned this teaching Mysore at another studio that was based around Groupons. Mysore-style yoga does not mix well with the McDonalds ("One billion served")/Groupon model of packing bodies in a room. It was exhausting, and obscured opportunity for direct, one-to-one interaction.
+++Summer Annual Membership Sale!+++
June 1–15, cash or check only! Pick up twelve months of Unlimited yoga for the paltry sum of $1,499!
+++Studio Closures, Moon Days, Led Classes+++
Upcoming Studio Closures:
Easter Sunday, March 27: NO CLASS
Handstand Workshop, Sunday, April 24: NO CLASS
Memorial Day Weekend - Sunday & Monday, May 29 & 30: NO CLASS
Upcoming Moon days:
Tuesday March 22,
Wednesday April 6,
Thursday April 21
CHANGED --- we will gather to move through the Primary Series on Friday, April 1.
+++Yoga Business Ideas, Cont.'d+++
As many of you know, I am constantly on the lookout for new yoga business ideas. If I can add the word "yoga" to another activity, I can print my own money! These people went ahead and stole my thunder. THESE ARE ACTUAL YOGA CLASSES.
(Hat-tip to Steve B. for this one)
"Some people wear boxing gloves to class, but wraps or bare hands are more common, as they help build wrist stability."
The book is titled Yoga in Bed: 20 Asanas to Do In Pajamas
"Yoga Rave is a party like none other in the world, a new concept in fun where the body responds only to the stimulation of music, yoga & meditation."
"Yoga retreats for women in the adult industry."
Jason owns and directs Portland Ashtanga Yoga.