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‘Ashtanga Yoga can be taught to anyone by an experienced and sensitive teacher’

September 3, 2015

New interview with Danny Paradise has popped up out of Italy. Complete transcription is here, and a brief excerpt:

I aim to spend as much time as possible in Nature. When I can be immersed in Nature for long periods of time my life force increases and that makes it easier for me to travel, explore new regions as well as teach. The general urban contemporary lifestyle is not something I spend a lot of time in. I encourage people to spend more time in Nature. At the same time there are tremendously talented people living in Urban zones. There are huge new Communities of people learning Yoga and changing their lifestyle in a positive way to meet the challenge of growing older with vitality, clarity, health and creativity. After all, if we are creating this dream we all have to begin to work together in compassion and clarity to clean up the mess that is happening all around us. The big cities are toxic in many ways with tremendous pollution, stress, anxiety and fear…All these elements shorten life.

I pulled from a part less focused on Ashtanga, but he does address that plenty. (Our past posts on Danny are here.)

Posted by Steve

It’s OK to research some poses

September 3, 2015

As promised, video is coming out from the Third Series training via Ashtanga Yoga Hong Kong. Here Tim Miller talks about research poses:

The description is nice, too:

Answering a student question about how much Research is acceptable, the answer also serves as preparation for the “awkward transition’ in Third Series that happens between the first half of the series, which is all the Leg-behind-the-head extreme forwards bends and Arm-balances, and the latter half of deep Back-bends. In other words; from Viranchasana B to Viparita Dandasana. As usual with Tim, there are some laughs along the way…

The laughs help with the research.

Posted by Steve

Pre-registration for the 2016 Ashtanga Yoga Confluence opens

September 2, 2015

If you’re on the email list, you should have received notification sometime Tuesday morning that pre-registration for the 2016 Ashtanga Yoga Confluence is open.

We’ll still reinforce the details:

  • The Confluence is back at the Catamaran, where the first two took place
  • Dates? March 3-6
  • Cost? Pre-reg is $525 (must also stay at the Catamaran; room rate is $179/night)
  • General registration opens Oct. 1 and is $575
  • Which teachers are going to be there? Manju Jois, Dena Kingberg, Richard Freeman, David Swenson, Tim Miller and Eddie Stern

The link to register is here.

Also, for those interested, here’s an interview at ESPN with the U.S. national asana champion.

Posted by Steve

Ashtanga Yoga New York to reopen Sept. 21

September 1, 2015

Things are moving pretty quickly in New York.

Last I checked, after the big closing party on Monday night, Eddie and Jocelyne Stern were going to take the month of September off to rejuvenate, look for a Manhattan location and prep the Brooklyn Yoga Club for it opening in October.

Speed all that up.

On the AYNY site, they now are announcing they will reopen Sept. 21 at a new home: Bhakti Center, 25 1st Avenue. That’s a few blocks north and east of the Broome St. location, for those who don’t know New York well. (Such as I.) They promise a schedule is to come soon.

And the Brooklyn Yoga Club will be opening next week, Tuesday, Sept. 8, with a limited schedule that’ll be posted on Sunday.

If you’re on the Facebook (or, I bet, Instagram) you can find photos of the final party from Monday night.

Posted by Steve

It’s Tuesday, so here’s the Hanuman Chalisa with Tim Miller

September 1, 2015

More video finds from the Third Series teacher training; this one is via Todd at Native Yoga Center:

Posted by Steve

Video: Tim Miller adjusting in Viranchyasana A

August 31, 2015

Here’s a minute of video from the Third Series training, via our friend Maria Zavala — who is also the victim practitioner being adjusted:

As she notes, it’s a “very challenging pose.” You think?!?

I’ve heard from a few of those at the training that they will be getting videos up. We’ll keep our eyes out.

Posted by Steve

What You Do and What You Think You Can’t Do

August 30, 2015

The change into a new state of being is the result of the fullness of nature unfolding inherent potential.

Yoga Sutras IV.2 (trans. Tim Miller)

“There will be no Fourth Series Teacher Training,” Tim announced (in a definitive voice) during the first days of his Third Series training. So, now that all the trainees have completed our Third Series training, I guess we’ve maxed out.

We try pretty hard here at The Confluence Countdown to keep a more universal tone to our posts–keep it newsy and light and out of the personal. That’s pretty hard as I emerge from the self-centered hothouse that is a yoga teacher training: Ostensibly, we were supposed to be learning to teach Third Series; really, we were learning to do Third Series in the broadest possible sense of doing. That is to say, what to do with it now that we know it.

“Guruji said Third Series was ‘just circus,'” Tim told us; “tricks” the early practitioners called the phenomenal Ashtanga backbending sequence. When he would remind us of this (as he did often), I would hear Steve’s voice in my head. He’d asked me as I was preparing, struggling and sore, “Do you have a good reason to want to learn this?” (or, occasionally, “Why are you doing this?”).

At the time, I was pretty sure I had a good reason. Third Series offers me unprecedented access to the kind of structural muscle strength my degrading joints need. But now the training is done, I find myself wanting a better answer.

The collection of training manuals.

The collection of training manuals.

I probably won’t be teaching my handful of yoga students Third Series any time soon. I won’t be busting out my repertoire of fabulous asanas on Facebook or putting them on display in my local Mysore room; I practice alone. There’s no teacher’s eye to motivate me, and Tim is a hundred miles away and can’t direct that hilarious grunt of disappointment at me when I cheat. So as I forge ahead with the prescription he gave me last week–First with Second one day a week, the rest of the time, Third Series–what’s my reason for doing this?

From the seat where I’m writing this, there is a damselfly lightly hovering around the window looking out on our garden. She’s a fine thing, hardly thicker than a needle, with nearly invisible wings that seem to be made of leaf veins. As she approaches me, she encounters the invisible obstacle of a pane of glass. She taps it gently: Once, twice. Even though she can’t see that barrier, it sends her off in an unintended direction, and she’s gone.

I feel now like a version of that damselfly, save this: The invisible barriers have disappeared, and I’ve been given a chance to fly through them. I learned that possibility is a powerful tool. Certainly, barriers are there. But if you gain a finer sense of your own strength, both mental and physical, what you think you can’t do will transform into a greater understanding of what you do, and why you do it.

On the last day, we studied both the chapter in the Yoga Sutras that contains the words that lead this post, as well as the chapter from the Ramayana where Hanuman, under a curse that he must forget his extraordinary abilities until he is reminded, leaps over the ocean to Lanka to find Sita. “In a sense,” Tim said, “we all possess extraordinary abilities.” Thank you, Tim Miller, for the reminder.

Posted by Bobbie