A couple years back, I wondered about the huge number of Ashtanga teachers in Helsinki. And got a few answers.
It struck me, then and still, as being a city where the number of Ashtanga teachers (if not studios, since that doesn’t always translate) was way out of wack compared to other cities.
And then yesterday I saw word that one of the teachers at the Encinitas Jois Yoga studio is/has moved up to Long Beach, where she (we’re taking Aimee Echo) has started Ashtanga Yoga Long Beach. (Another teacher, David Miliotis, also is leaving. That may leave just one or two teachers. It is still at its temporary location while work is being done on the downtown Encinitas store/studio. Today is both of their last days in Encinitas.)
Long Beach, for those who aren’t SoCal literate, is LA County’s second largest city, but like much else here it exists in the huge shadow that is the city of Los Angeles. But it is the sixth or seventh largest city in the state (neck and neck with our capitol, Sacramento) and in the mid-30s in the U.S.
So it makes sense that Long Beach would have an Ashtanga teacher. (For the purpose of this argument, I’m going to use the Mysore list of teachers, with a few additions of teachers that we — Bobbie and I — know to have legitimate skills.) But she’s it. One Ashtanga teacher for about 450,000 people.
And that got me thinking of places that are underserved when it comes to Ashtanga. Or: “Where Ashtanga isn’t.” (Oakland, which is slightly smaller than Long Beach, has a teacher by comparison.) A few places that jump out at me:
- San Antonio (and, really, Texas in general. Austin has just one Mysore-listed teacher, Shelley Washington [we know David Swenson is home-based there, too]. But, Austin? You’d think it would have Ashtanga via Yoga Truck; and Houston has just one)
- Chicago (which has two listed, or one for every 1.4 million people)
- Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming all have zero. That means major cities including Memphis, Indianapolis, Nashville and Baltimore don’t have any Ashtanga.
Now, it’s likely there’s some Ashtanga being taught there — and it could be very good and/or very traditional, just not listed by Mysore. So this isn’t scientific or anything.
But I’m wondering if there are other places you’ve come across (maybe in travels, when trying to visit a new shala) that surprised you by the lack or dearth of Ashtanga — especially worldwide.
Posted by Steve