One day it occurred to me, there are principles taught in this tradition, it should be enough and yet, I am unsatisfied, looking elsewhere, and trying to innovate. At the time, I was not content with what I witnessed in the name of this lineage and also with what was happening in my practice. It was also a clear feeling I had, that observing those practicing in this way for much longer than I did not inspire trust to simply keep going, with all the efforts and struggles implied. I was at a crossroad… either I rejected yoga in my life, or I re-evaluated everything I though about it. In a moment of clarity, I chose to trust the Tradition and strive to understand more about what was being conveyed through its simple teachings.
I have since developed a profound respect for the Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition. Through ever deepening personal experiencing, scriptural references, and transmitting this understanding to others, I have understood that I carry a vocation and passion for teaching this practice. This motivates me to expand my communication further, and as such, I am publishing these articles as part of a larger body of work; in order to begin to convey a message about this wonderful practice, its great potential, and possibly help a little to heal some of what is happening today in its name. My efforts have been to keep things as pure as possible… never to reinvent, but simply, where needed, to reinterpret, so the modern mindset can come to understand how to put into practice what was being asked.
As far as the practice methodology is concerned, if you choose to read on, you will find that what I share is in complete accordance with the teachings on Vinyasa coming from Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois. There is certainly a point where you may find that simple principles will ask of you to dig a little deeper, and yet, to apply them with the same simplicity will generally yield a completely new quality of practice. It is this transformation in quality that is the beginning of a journey into the depths and wonder of this practice.
Incredible is the simplicity of these notions, which reveal such great potential!
To put this into consistent practice certainly demands a level of discipline, patience and a willingness to let go of previous notions and expectations of what yoga may have been for you. Tried and tested, traditional teachings cast a safety net around your practice, guiding your process to unexpected places and helping you to keep away from the dangers, injuries, etc. which are all too common these days and have given a reputation to the Ashtanga Vinyasa practice which is less then favorable in many Yoga circles… and for good reasons. I argue here that the cause of this is wrongful interpretation, teaching and application and not the tradition itself.
Yoga has a capacity to adapt, to meet each individual where they stand. It considers the whole, so expect to be confronted to challenges you did not expect. It adapts but doesn’t compromise… to leave out certain aspects of the practice, whether consciously or not, will allow for some of the essential work simply to remain unaddressed. This is a real problem in Yoga currently, and at best, the process just doesn’t unfold very far. What is deeply concerning is it can actually be the cause of great harm, for as great the potential, equally so are the possible pitfalls.
My personal experience had me confront many of the dangers inherent in this process firsthand, facing perilous zones with physical injuries and in retrospect, understanding the energetic and mental implications and how the long term incorrect application of yoga can have very detrimental effects on all aspects of being.
The advice I was getting from my peers was simply to keep practicing, the pains were natural… seeking advice for specific things, I was often directed outside the tradition, to modern techniques, within and without yoga.
My healing journey brought me to the depths of this tradition and what I discovered is a wholistic process, integration, development, removal of obstacles on all levels. All from the same simple principles: Posture, Breath, Gaze, Vinyasa and the eight limbs of the Ashtanga Practice.
Keep in mind that it is a very personal journey and that by and by, you will make your own interpretation. We all enter this practice as beginners though, and it is the highest order of importance that there be a reliable structure in place to guide those first steps and establish good tendencies. If too much is invested and only later in our process we are confronted to apply these principles, we may develop resistance and chose to simply carry on as before. Going from a 3rd series practice to half primary is something I am familiar with personally and a choice I would make again without hesitation as it was the beginning to a whole new relationship with practice.
Growing up in a family where Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga was practiced from before my birth in Mysore, India, it is natural that I carry a deep sense of involvement in this lineage. My quest for growth and an establishment in spirituality has had me explore many traditions also, being very involved in the Lakota and other Native American traditions and being an Initiate in the Kriya Yoga of Lahiri Mahasaya under the current holder of the Lineage Shailendra Sharma. This has greatly expanded my horizons, and also my understanding of the application and potential in the Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition within the context of physical culture, healing and spiritual development.
I will share about this Practice methodology through this website. I am motivated by my personal experiences and how I have witnessed positive transformations in others who chose to go along with them. I claim no ownership as it also comes from the experience of previous practitioners. Understand that face-to-face with an individual, the words and explanations used will be much more pertinent. It is quite a challenge to write about these things in a generalized way, but I pray that what I convey is enough food for thought to aid in bringing these principles to life in your journey, whether it be in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, it’s derivatives in the various Vinyasa practices, or through other movement practices.
Structure and Natural Alignment
Stability and Mobility
A natural flow
The Softness and Power of Water
Rhythm and Equilibrium
Stability and Freedom
A Window to Subtlety and Open Space
Patience and Tranquility
Poise and Centeredness
Harmony and Expansion into Essence
Union of Spiritual and Human Nature