Guruji famously described Ashtanga as follows: “Ashtanga yoga is Patanjali yoga.”
I saw the following floating around the Internet (Facebook, to be precise). I don’t know the origin or anything behind the intent.
I am writing this to anyone who is involved with Ashtanga Yoga which was created by Mr. P. Jois. I am a yoga instructor and myself and others feel that this name confuses students of yoga.
This message is for anyone involved in the system of Mr. P. Jois, this is not proper.
This name should be given up. It serves to confuse yoga aspirants. Well, if you do not understand just pass this on to other practitioners of the systems set up my Mr. P. Jois. Choose another name! This confuses students of yoga.
Astanga Yoga was given by The Supreme Lord to Maharishi Patanjali and all yoga systems taught in the world today are based on this 8 stepped system. When Mr. P. Jois chose this name he took a name which belonged to the Great Sage Patanjali. This is not correct it lacks integrity, so I am requesting that this name be renounced. All yoga is based on this system. Mr. P. Jois should have chosen another name! + Why don’t you call it the Jois System of Yoga
This would make more sense. It is not proper to take the Great Sage Patanjali’s System. This is not proper.
My initial reaction was: How silly. No one is going to be confused by this, and I don’t think Patanjali is going to make a claim at this point (even taking reincarnation into consideration).
Plus, I’ve always liked the Guruji didn’t put his name to the yoga, ala Iyengar or Bikram. (You can probably make the leap that I’m not a big fan of the name “Jois Yoga” on the studios that are popping up.) And there’s the notion — however much you want to give it credence — that Guruji didn’t “create” Ashtanga but found it in the Yoga Korunta.
But I do sort of get the idea behind it: If you look at it narrowly, Ashtanga is just asana — just one of the eight limbs. (I think we all know it’s more, unlike a flow class or similar, right?)
My own sense, though, is that Guruji saw this asana practice as fitting into the “yoga” as taught by Patanjali — and we all know that Patanjali barely mentions asanas.
In short, no harm, no foul. But that’s me.
Posted by Steve