Jois Yoga Encinitas scales back practice hours; just what is the Ashtanga lineage

Jois Yoga Encinitas has just announced a little scale-back to its practice hours.

The morning Mysore, which was six hours, is now five. And the afternoon Mysore, which was three hours and 45 minutes, is down to three and a half hours. And off the schedule for now is Aimee Echo, who is in Mysore. Small changes, indeed.

I figure it is worth noting because this has all the hallmarks of being the root of a wild rumor that would expand into … well, why even suggest it in case someone reads it wrongly.

I do note that the studio there has Mysore practice on Saturdays (these, too, have been trimmed back). I’ll admit to being a little surprised given the traditions surrounding the practice.

Speaking of those traditions, while we were busy working on our Derek Ireland post yesterday, David Garrigues had a guest post up about the Ashtanga lineage. From the piece by Suzanne Faulkner:

Statements such as this one from a blog about mysore style ashtanga yoga, concerning the idea of being a direct part of the lineage….

” I clearly favor the traditional lineage and Sharath Jois but others have found great love for other teachers such as Richard Freeman or Tim Miller.”
the word BUT…. I would ask people studying with Sharath to use the word AND.

This statement somehow, or perhaps directly infers, with the BUT, that to study under Richard Freeman or Tim Miller is to study outside of the traditional lineage. My heart quickens, I feel threatened, undervalued. How could it be okay to have students of Richard and Tim, Nancy, David, David, Christine, David etc… be considered students that are choosing to be not in favor of the traditional lineage of Ashtanga! We are in favor of the traditional lineage of ashtanga yoga, in fact, we ARE the traditional lineage of ashtanga yoga. We are, at the very least, an aspect of the direct lineage!

I saw this one getting shared on Facebook on Wednesday. I’ll just say that this issue of lineage isn’t one we are too worked up about currently. We understand why others are. I think back to something Eddie Stern said at the first Confluence, and which I hope I don’t butcher too much in recalling. Here’s how Bobbie captured it one time:

Eddie Stern said something like this at the Confluence—that it was a remarkable thing that with no formal bureaucracy, no system of distribution or middle management or committees, or even, really a “central authority” that called itself such, the teachings of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois spread with such consistency, and always accompanied with such passion for teaching more.

I think that reflects pretty well our attitude toward the practice’s spread. But Suzanne’s piece is well worth reading, as issues of the lineage still are with us.

Finally, the first of a promised two-parter on Navaratri / Dasara celebrations in Mysore from Tim Miller.

Posted by Steve

 

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

5 thoughts on “Jois Yoga Encinitas scales back practice hours; just what is the Ashtanga lineage”

  1. you know, i actually love the paraphrased quote you included from eddie stern, as that’s been my experience. consider how widespread the practice is and the variety of those who share the method “as it has been taught to them” – there is far more consistent than not. quite remarkable when you think about it.

    and like you, i’m not concerned with the ands and buts … i find greater value in parampara and less in the weight of a piece of paper. after all, THAT’S the part built into the practice. probably what we can thank for the seeds spread AND the consistency both.

  2. Personally I’ve long wondered whether certification means anything significant, because if you (say) earn 3rd from one certified teacher and are either forced or choose to go to another you invariably have to earn it again. I used to call this “hazing”.

  3. It spread because “it is not one man’s practice it is universal.” Anything universal i.e. any art form spreads across the world quickly because it is connected to the collective unconscious, it is already within us. I find doing this practice no different than when I used to stand facing the wall with my saxophone blowing it 8 hours a day to get a handle on the technique and music it’s very much the same internally. It touches our deepest self and in a way like the spiritual letters of sanskrit the asanas speak to a persons deeper self. You hear time and again stories about how someone shows another a few postures and they are immediately drawn to the practice which informs me of the power of asana, sitting, pranayama etc. I think if you are lucky enough to meet and study with someone that has been taught at the source and for many years and practiced for many years they can help you make the connection faster and deeper within yourself. Years ago there was no certification but we are a society that values and puts value on that kind of materialism.

  4. This seems timely for me.

    I have been teaching a daily lead class here in SF and call it Vinyasa, because I don’t teach jump backs and throughs, and am not consistent with my inhale do this exhale do that. My students seem to love the practice, the consistency of the framework of sun salutations, standing poses, sitting poses, supine poses, backbends, shoulder stands, head stands,and half lotus, followed by Savasana. I have thought about calling it Ashtanga lite, or gentle Ashtanga and wondered if I would be bastardizing the lineage, as things are left out. It’s the full primary sequence but with easy modifications and accessability of moving the body through an easeful yet steady practice. Also, no one sweats in my class as the Agni is kept at bay.

    I wonder what the thoughts are on Ashtanga lite… Isnt accessability to the practice more meaningful than westernized perfection of the sequence.

    Maybe as Tim Feldman says, we can practice the Eastern influences of energetics and worry less about things like fine tuned alignment to the nth degree and come back more to finding union with the one through asana. Isn’t that Patanjali’s yoga? For me as a practitioner and teacher of Ashtanga in its altered form, it is.

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