Five surprising things about Ashtanga

I’m traveling for business — which isn’t and shouldn’t be of any interest to you — but this might be.

I shared a taxi into town from the airport with a person I’ve worked with on a variety of projects, for several years, and for the first time the topic of yoga came up.

Quick fun fact: It was because we actually got to exit our airplane from the back, and I mentioned that was like happens in India.

She has done a little bit of yoga but not much. (I also turned her on to Stephen Mitchell’s translation/poem of the Gita, for those of interest. And we’ll sort of come around to Krishna by post’s end.) Here were the things that seemed to particularly surprise her about Ashtanga, as I described it:

  • The six-day-a-week routine.
  • That a practice goes 1:20 or so.
  • That I can practice at home. I had to explain it has a particular, set routine, so once you learn it you more or less are good to go. (This compared to her feeling like she couldn’t do more than a sun salute without guidance or a lot of training.)
  • That said sun salute might be worship of a sun god. (We then talked a little about the Encinitas trial.)
  • That my yoga teacher is 100 miles away. (Tim, we’ll get down to you soon, I swear!)

I pass those on as a little “reality check.” What we do is not normal.

A few other things we touched on: Yes, an India home could/would have an image of a god. That there are maybe 330 million Hindu gods. That the yoga asana we know may be 125 years or so old, in its P.E. form as we know it.

I promised we’d come round to Krishna. The last of Lord Jagganath’s temple dancers/wives passed away, per the New York Times. Very interesting read.

Posted by Steve


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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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