Behind the thinking that went into the ‘Guruji’ book

A little admission here: I totally misunderstood something that Guy Donahaye has been posting at his still pretty new blog, Mind Medicine.

Donahaye, along with Eddie Stern, is the author — in some ways compiler may be a better word — of the “Guruji” book. I’m sure many, if not most, of you have read it. I use the word “compiler” because it is a series of interviews by Donahaye of senior students of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. The first year Confluence teachers are all there, I’m pretty sure (I don’t have the book handy), and Dena Kingsberg is, too.

Via Ashtanga Yoga Shala New York

If you haven’t read it, you should.

Back to Donahaye’s blog. I thought he was posting a series of excerpts from the book. Over the weekend he posted Part III of what’s been titled, “Reflections on ‘Guruji: A Portrait’ — Interview with Elise Espat.”

Silly me, I assumed this was one of the interviews from the book. (What was I just saying about educated eyes?)

Turns out, it is an interview of Donahaye about the book, and it kicks off with this question: “How and why did you choose to ask the questions you asked for the interviews?”

You want to know the answer, right? To find it and a bunch — a bunch! — of other insight, check out all three parts. Here’s Part I, Part II and Part III. Here is a taste from Part III:

As far as asanas go, what is important in the immediate moment is a practice which gives us a sense of wellbeing and freedom from pain. If we are sick, then we need to purify and strengthen the body. In preparation for pranayama we also need to purify the nadis further through Nadi Shodhona and to be able to sit comfortably in padmasana or a similar asana for a long period of time.

Where did the notion come from – that advancing through the series would lead to advancement on the path of yoga? It seems like there should be a logical correlation.  However, the purpose of the asanas is therapy. As long as we continue to fall short of following the yamas and niyamas perfectly, our system will require continuous correction from practicing asanas.

There is lots more good stuff to be had.

Posted by Steve 

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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