Yoga Tradition

Meditations on Embodied Practice

Krishnamacharya vinyasa krama sequence

The last thing I expected was for one of my yoga teachers to sound a Socratic note. After a six hour session, he made a disconcerting remark: “I hope this workshop has raised more questions than provided answers. I hope it has made you realize how lost you really are.” This comment came after a grueling week-long workshop in the traditional practice of Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, which entails memorizing sequences of physical postures. In this practice of breath-synchronized movement, every…

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Ashtanga Vinyasa Fundamentals

vinyasa fundamentals

In this interview and workshop David Robson shares some of his views regarding the importance of trying to stick to the correct vinyasa. The sorts of things that can unconsciously get added or changed are body position, timing, breath and counting. In the workshop part David explains and demonstrates the correct (traditional) vinyasa  of the fundamental standing postures.

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The Box – Being Inside Looking Outside: An Ashtanga Story

Norman Blair

I would like to present this piece in the spirit of compassion, co-operation and communication. My thanks to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Sharat Jois and all teachers who have developed this practice and helped me along this path. The purpose of writing is to encourage debate and dialogue amongst practitioners. Some of what is written might be controversial but this is not a rocking of the boat simply for the sake of provocation. If I see an elephant in the room it needs to be said – even if that elephant is Ganesh. This is a heartfelt attempt towards understanding this tradition and the possibilities for transformation.

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The Evolution of Ashtanga Yoga Part II

Matthew Sweeney

Although Yoga, meditation and self inquiry are gaining popularity worldwide, these are still relatively new concepts for many people. How we define these concepts and the clarity with which we pursue them is of great interest to me. I am using the following definitions to shine a light on how adherence to a tradition can either help or hinder your practice of Yoga. It might be useful to note how you personally respond to these definitions and to recognise any conditioning you may have about them.

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Ashtanga Yoga 70 years or 2000?

Matthew Sweeney

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a relatively new system, despite some opinions to the contrary. Apart from the obvious fact that the sequences have been changed by Pattabhi Jois over the years (usually for the better in my opinion) most would agree that Prof. T. Krishnamacharya (K.P. Jois teacher) invented the system during his years at the Mysore Yoga Palace – and was influenced by the Western Gymnastic tradition, no less.

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The So-Called Tradition of Ashtanga

I have noticed that as the Mysore-style Ashtanga method becomes more popular over the years, the individual connection between teacher and student is disintegrating. The practice, which was originally designed to be individualized, has become increasingly supplanted by a one-size-fits-all approach. This is a natural outgrowth as more and more people both learn and are touched by the method. The unfortunate thing is that it misses the point of the Mysore-style methodology, which by its nature honors each student’s constitution,…

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The Evolution of Ashtanga Yoga

Matthew Sweeney

Ashtanga Yoga is a wonderful practice for the body and mind. It is an evolving practice that is changing and growing to suit people of all ages and abilities. At least that is its potential. The tradition and its changing nature can be a difficult thing to reconcile. This problem exists for all traditions, so understanding some of the principles at work is important. In most Ashtanga classes we begin with both the breath and with vinyasa, the movements in…

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