‘I am intimidating and the way I feel about hatha yoga is intimidating’

We haven’t checked in with David Garrigues in a while — not sure if he’s just not popping up in our various social media feeds or what. But I saw he posted an “unedited” excerpt from his journal earlier this week. A little taste:

And these shapes that I am so at home with are so strange and unlikely—very few people can understand that I must express these shapes to feel that THE world and MY world make sense.  I cannot imagine life without Uddhyana Bandha, Sirsasana,  Pada Hastasana, and the rest.   Take these away from me, and you take away everything that has value for me–this is the literal truth.  Without hatha yoga my world collapses.   Performing or teaching Mula Bandha is the only creative reason I exist—I know it sounds extreme-but I am telling you the truth——-without my beloved hatha yoga—-I quickly become a hollow shell—nothing to live for or truly care about.

I often see people refer to DG as intimidating (as taken from another line of the post in our headline). And then people, after they practice with him, seem inevitably to say: “Well, he was, but it was OK because [fill in the reasons].” I think there is some hint as to why their perspective changes in what he’s written.

Here’s a thought, for some intrepid Ashtangi out there: It might be a worthwhile project to ask as many senior (and perhaps less senior, and I don’t just mean Mysore-approved) teachers, and even students (as if those are always different), what their Ashtanga practice means to them, or what role it plays in their life, or how they’d even define “Ashtanga.” I suspect there would be a lot of different answers — which reflect how Guruji taught different people.

Posted by Steve

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theconfluencecountdown

Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

5 thoughts on “‘I am intimidating and the way I feel about hatha yoga is intimidating’”

  1. surely it would reflect the teacher’s conditioning, nervous system wiring etc…?

    never met dg – but portraying extreme dedication to the practice as resulting in nothing to live for – what a turn off!

  2. Hmm… that is a rather extremist view. DG is clearly enthusiastic, but I am surprised to read this perspective. It makes more sense to me that this practice should support ones personal, professional, and interpersonal life, rather than be one’s entire reason for living.

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