Refreshing Ashtanga

Next time you have a down moment, I’d encourage you to absentmindedly scour through the Yoga Workshop website.

When I do, I invariably discover something I hadn’t noticed before. Over the weekend, it was this gem from the Lineage page:

A fundamental aim of the teaching at the Yoga Workshop is to keep an open mind as we continually refresh the linage of Ashtanga Vinyasa system by making it applicable to the immediate condition of our bodies, minds and cultures.

We encourage students to read and ask questions about original ancient texts that have been influential in this lineage. Students are also encouraged to contemplate and question the ever changing context and landscape of yoga, both within their own practice (self reflection) and within the broader context of yoga as it evolves in the 21st century. We encourage the juxtaposing of our tradition with other traditions and lineages to challenge, to critique and to refine both ourselves and others.

As part of this we offer classes not only on asana, but also on meditation, pranayama and philosophy.

I recognize this struck me because I struggle with the efficacy of a combo of different traditions, philosophies and/or lines of inquiry. It can seem a little too “cafeteria spirituality.” My bias, I know.

I also wonder what is the drive to find something beyond Ashtanga — should it be enough? Vipassana meditation is one “addition” to Ashtanga you see a lot, for instance. What’s missing that has people looking toward that type of quieting or stilling of the mind?

At the same time, my own lines of thinking are, I think, eclectic. But there’s a marked difference between thinkings about politics, for instance, and morality or, even more to the point, religion/faith.

Or is there? Thus the struggle. And thus the thinking more about the value of juxtaposition of tradition. Because I always find myself returning to one William Blake quote — with most of his writings, well-outfitted in irony: “I must Create a System. or be enslav’d by another Mans.”

Anyone have lots about adding other elements to whatever one might consider “my practice?” Did you find a useful companion to Ashtanga? What hole did it seem to fill? And how, perhaps, did it improve your Ashtanga/asana practice?

Posted by Steve

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Reminder: Richard Freeman’s Essentials registration is today

To be precise, it starts at noon Mountain time, so 2 p.m. Eastern and 11 a.m. Pacific. (I think I got that right.) They say it is first come, first served.

And a reminder of what we’re talking about:

This 5-day intensive will help to fill in some of these gaps. In the morning sessions we will ground our study with an in depth exploration of the internal patterns of breath and alignment found in the Primary Series of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system. In the afternoons there will be an introduction to Sanskrit chanting, an introduction to the internal pleasures of pranayama and a comprehensive overview of the foundational philosophies which form the context for yoga practice. We will read and discuss the Kena and the Katha Upanishads, selections from the Yoga Sutras and then learn to appreciate the plurality of approaches to yoga through an introduction to the Bhagavad Gita.

It runs Jan. 26 to 30. Link to registration (and the info above) is right here.

Cost is $600, due when you register.

Posted by Steve

Get ready to spend 5 days with Richard Freeman

For those who can’t drop everything and spend a month during the summer in Boulder studying with Richard Freeman, here’s a next best thing: Five days during the winter.

Yoga Workshop has announced that the sign-up for the five-day “Essentials” course begins Oct. 26. (And yes, we highlighted this last year, too.) All the details, including the link you’ll need in a couple of weeks, is right here. A taste:

In the morning sessions we will ground our study with an in depth exploration of the internal patterns of breath and alignment found in the Primary Series of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system. In the afternoons there will be an introduction to Sanskrit chanting, an introduction to the internal pleasures of pranayama and a comprehensive overview of the foundational philosophies which form the context for yoga practice. We will read and discuss the Kena and the Katha Upanishads, selections from the Yoga Sutras and then learn to appreciate the plurality of approaches to yoga through an introduction to the Bhagavad Gita.

The cost is $600. It runs Jan. 26-30, 2015. Which means you could go right from there to Maya Tulum with Tim Miller. (Of course, then you’re starting to push that month you may not have to spend.)

Posted by Steve

Even the word ‘yoga … had negative effects’

Do not, I repeat do not, even think about trying to do yoga in a school. If you are in Austria.

The land of Arnold (I think I have that right) might be super pumped about body building, but not so much about yoga, as this AP story — found at the U-T San Diego, the paper closest to the Encinitas schools yoga story — attests:

An Austrian primary school has dropped yoga classes for children after a mother argued that yoga goes against Christian teachings.

Yoga teacher Ingrid Karner says she was told to stop classes at the school in the southeastern village of Dechantskirchen after a complaint “that it’s not allowed, according to the Bible.”

[snip]

School inspector Helga Thomann says schools should not offer anything linked to “esoteric” practices.

Apparently the classes got started fine until an unidentified mom complained, saying — per our header — that even the word yoga “had negative effects.”

Which, if you turned things over to Richard Freeman, I guess is true.

It could, of course, just be that mom hasn’t figured out how to deal with her klesas. Tim Miller this week has some assistance on that front.

Posted by Steve

A chance to explore Intermediate Series with Richard Freeman

This sounds really darn great, if you make the lottery and are in Boulder:

The Intermediate Series, Nadi Shodhana, is said to open up the internal system of nadis or channels all throughout the body. This series is called intermediate because this process of opening must be done after the fundamentals of grounding and letting go through the inner practices of dristi and bandha have been learned. In the morning session we will explore the essence and flow of the Intermediate Series of the Ashtanga Vinyasa form. The afternoon will be finishing postures and pranayama.

Prerequisite: Students must be proficient in the Primary Series

Note: Due to limited space and overwhelming demand, registration for this class will be by lottery. From 24 Sep until 5 Oct at 9am MT, students will be able to sign up to have their names drawn at random. Selected students will be notified by 3pm MT, Sunday, 5 Oct. Selected students will then have 48 hours to pay for the workshop. If payment is not received, another name will be drawn at random.

You can sign up for the lottery at the link above. Can — and should, right? Cost is $85.

Posted by Steve

Richard Freeman on the flow of your breah

We highlighted when Richard Freeman was out in Los Angeles earlier this year, in part to film a series of classes / etc. for Yogaglo.

I assume this quick video on Svara — flow — is among the things produced:

It hit the Internet this week. The video also is at Yogaglo’s blog, which provides the opportunity to take a video class with him.

Posted by Steve