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‘Ashtanga is super fun!’

January 17, 2012
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OK. Quick quiz: Which of the five Ashtanga Yoga Confluence teachers is being referred to by the title (words are not mine!) of this post?

If you guessed David Swenson, you know your Ashtanga teachers well.

There’s no doubt that Swenson brings a lot of lightness — of both body and mind — to his teaching and practice. He has a great sense of humor (as do almost all the Ashtanga teachers I’ve run across do) but perhaps has the most welcoming attitude of any “master” teacher I’ve worked with in my short time with the practice.

I’m sure it comes from a combination of his videos and books and his traveling / bringing Ashtanga to the people work.

Well, for the past few days, Swenson’s been bringing his message to the Yoga Journal conference in San Francisco. And the title of this post comes from a blog about taking Swenson’s Ashtanga’s Greatest Hits class. Here is a link to it and a few excerpts:

Uhhhhh … I thought, my trepidation about David Swenson’s “Ashtanga’s Greatest Hits” growing. I hope I’m not in over my head here. I’d heard of the Primary Series described as “trying to climb up a glass mountain,” but every Ashtanga class I’ve taken has left me feeling elated and empowered.

[snip]

Swenson lightened the challenging class with plenty of jokes and laughter. A student asked, “What makes my bum raise in Eka Pada Bakasana?” Swenson deadpanned, “Magic!” Laughter erupted. “No, see, you eat a lot of gassy foods and  . . .” Swenson continued. More laughter. As Swenson went on to describe that the lift actually came from the lateral muscles in the side body and pretzeled himself up into the pose, I looked around at all of the smiling faces and mentally confirmed what I’ve thought all along: Ashtanga is super fun!

Super fun! Well, that sure runs counter to the usual portrait of Ashtanga and Ashtangis as dour, military and a bit too Type A, doesn’t it?

Do we need to get on the author about wrecking our reputation?

Posted by Steve

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