New home for David Swenson videos from Down Under

It looks like the Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Melbourne has migrated over to a new YouTube channel or account.

You might recall it posted a handful of videos from when David Swenson was there a year ago (we posted about it in August); those videos are gone, but there are newly posted ones right here. Here’s one of the five, plus there’s one from an earlier visit of his:

We’ll note this on the earlier post.

Also, since we’re posting, click here if you want to see how Lucy imagines an “Ashtanga Jacket.”

Posted by Steve

More changes. Maybe temporary (isn’t everything?)

A few more changes to announce here:

We won’t be posting daily anymore. Our practices, as we’ve discussed between us a lot, are at a point where we don’t feel like they lend themselves to much sharing. Practicing at home, plugging along, isn’t producing much we have felt to be of use to others.

Those who’ve read this blog know I’ve never been very comfortable thinking my practice has much to tell someone else.

And there also are enough other channels for people to share things; as I know I’ve mentioned, when we started this blog years back, folks weren’t using Facebook and Twitter (let alone Instagram or Snapchat) as they are now. If you want things, you can find them. Or, really, those things find you.

We’ve also over the years narrowed down our content; we try to get things to you that we think you might not see otherwise, things that somehow are mainstream enough you ought to know or things we think important — whatever that means. Something to deepen your practice; something to make you think; something to inspire.

We try to pass along things we think have real value. (Or occasionally, real humor or some counter to the heaviness of an Ashtanga practice.)

And the fact is, those things don’t come along every day.

But when they do, and when a practice happens that suggests something broader than just an individual “aha,” we’ll pass them on. A couple times a week? Maybe something like that.

Also, for me especially (not so much Bobbie, if at all her), I’m trying to take to heart something Tim Miller talked about during the Third Series training, which of course I heard second hand: Don’t let your practice become a prison. Too often, I think, getting a post up everyday feels more a prison and less a freedom.

Enough of that. For now, at least.

Posted by Steve

Another benefit to yoga in jail: Better fathers

A study unveiled this summer reaches a wonderful conclusion: Combining yoga practice with parenting classes for inmates can help them be better fathers.

Here’s a link to the study. From the conclusion:

These results also provide preliminary evidence that yoga and mindfulness combined with parenting education may benefit incarcerated fathers personally, in terms of self-awareness, resilience and parenting knowledge, which may in turn improve actual parenting behaviors. The outcomes also suggest that physical and intentional, guided yoga practices may have built participants’ capacities for assimilating new ideas and concepts, retaining and applying information shared in both the yoga and parent education sessions. Given the growing popularity of yoga and the availability of yoga instructors trained to teach in specialized settings, yoga shows promise for offering an accessible intervention with large potential returns.

The yoga part took place after the parenting session (for a variety of reasons). You might think the other way around would be better to get the inmates in the right frame of mind. But the researchers found that this sequence allowed the inmates to process what they’d just learned.

Now, this study wasn’t without some significant limitations, as it notes. But it did occur over three years with 14 different groups of men. (A big limitation: No control group.) And they are hoping to do more studies, given the findings.

Posted by Steve

Your Hindu gods and heroes are coming to the big screen

You may not know the name Sanjay Patel, but chances are you’ve seen some of his handiwork.

Patel is a Pixar artist who also is the man behind the great Ramayana graphic novel. Coming soon from him is an animated Pixar short called Sanjay’s Super Team, which will be released with the potentially huge hit The Good Dinosaur. You know the deal, how Pixar drops a short along with the feature.

Here’s how Variety describes it:

A directorial debut from Sanjay Patel, the short centers around a little Hindu boy who prefers Saturday morning cartoons of superheroes while his father wants him to join in morning prayers, until he sees Vishnu, Hanuman and Durga as the Avengers who save him. Patel, who grew up in San Bernardino, Calif., where his parents ran the Lido Motel, says the short is partly biographical.

The day the CalArts grad was to make his pitch for the short to John Lasseter, his son, Arjun, was born and the meeting had to be postponed a couple of weeks. “In hindsight, my family said it was my son’s karma,” said Patel.

Pixar has released a short clip, pretty much the opening of that scene:

As it you needed a reason to see the dinosaur movie.

Posted by Steve

‘Reasons to love Ashtanga yoga’

I’m probably not a good one to comment on these, although I can agree with this assessment from this piece in the Times of India (although it may have originated at the Huffington Post India): “Ashtanga is not a practice for the faint-hearted.”

It goes on to list not quite a handful of reasons “to love this practice.” Here they are; click this link for the full explanation of them:

Dedication. Strength. Letting Go. Mirror Effect.

Kudos to the piece for getting this part right: “consisting of six series, and each series contains its own sequence of asanas.” You may recall that can be easy to mess up.

Posted by Steve

A very short and different Gita

For you fans of what’s happening in the skies, a quick check-in on Tim Miller’s blog this week:

[Y]ou may have noticed that Mars and Jupiter are now very close together—for the next week they will be within one degree of each other, with an exact conjunction Saturday October 17that 3:40pmPDT. This is a high-powered transit combining the physical energy and confidence of Mars with the optimism and expansiveness of Jupiter to generate fortunate action. During this transit we tend to feel strong and fit, and more willing to take chances than usual. The conjunction of Mars and Jupiter takes place in Purvaphalguni (the first fruit of the gunas) nakshatra in the sign of Leo.

What’s that mean? Well, it could be something like this:

Under the current influence of Mars/Jupiter conjunct in Purvaphalguni this conversation might have gone differently, perhaps something like this: … “Not to worry, Krishna,” says Arjuna, “I am the greatest warrior the world has ever known—the Kauravas are toast.”

As Tim notes, that would make for an uninspiring Gita. So it’s a good week to pause for just a second before leaping.

Posted by Steve