Video: John Scott on breath and vinyasa

John Scott isn’t one of the Ashtanga teachers with whom we’re particularly familiar. We know him via name and reputation is about all.

Here he is, in the latest video out of Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga, talking about breath and vinyasa:

We have a book of his, I think, but I can’t find it. (The downside of a color-coded library). I do note he has some yoga apps, if you check out his website.

Posted by Steve

Video: Quick reboot on how to breathe in your Ashtanga practice

Of the many benefits and challenges of the Ashtanga practice, finding and keeping a steady, even breath certainly is one of the best — both best benefit and the best (and toughest) challenge.

Even harder: Taking what you learn about steadying your breath and applying it to daily life. Like my your commute. Or that annoying co-worker.

So here’s a little reminder:

The video was posted a couple of months ago — I think that still qualifies as “new.” More on Diana here.

Posted by Steve

The breath and Ashtanga

I know lots of people are reading and sharing Nancy Gilgoff’s quick set of thoughts we linked to this weekend. One thing, as I’ve been reflecting on it, particularly strikes me:

The perfect pose is without bad pain and without stress… only breath. The correct method is finding that in our own practice, and our role as “teacher” is to help others to find it. Once one finds it then how quickly or slowly we learn primary and intermediate will have little relevance. Keep practising, always coming back to the breath… and enjoy. This is Guruji’s system of yoga, I think.

Sound familiar? One of the revolving pieces on the Yoga Workshop home page says this:


If you’re new to yoga, that’s all you need to know how to do.

In both cases, it is breath that is fundamental. Everything else, as the saying goes, is just circus tricks.

Sort of a nice reminder.

Posted by Steve

Manju Jois on the breath

This looks to be one of quite a few yoga- and Ashtanga-related videos at this YouTube channel: love yoga anatomy. “These videos are part of a loveyogaanatomy initiative to connect with teachers and professionals from around the world,” the description reads.

I can’t get the second of these videos to upload, but you can click on the “Playlist” bar and jump to Manju Jois talking about the breath.

We seem to be riding a little glut of new videos lately.

Posted by Steve

The weirdness of drishti

A couple weeks back I was wondering how one gets — and I suppose keeps — motivated day after day with an Ashtanga practice. (Thanks to those who provided some feedback; I hope there was something helpful to you if you are/were feeling a bit lethargic on the mat.)

I’ve since been thinking about it more and practicing, as well. In one talk with Bobbie, she pointed out — these are my words summing her eloquent ones up — my drishti sucked.

True enough, I discovered the next morning.

We’ve written about breath and bandhas and drishti plenty here — as you’d expect. You can check out Bobbie’s thoughts on drishti here, for instance. And I know somewhere I suggested that as long as I was focused on breathing, I more or less would say I’m “doing Ashtanga.”

As with any previously uttered/written statement, I reserve the right to refute my earlier thinking. I think breath is important — probably the most important aspect of Ashtanga. And bandhas are critical — your asanas are essentially flappy — maybe even broken — in the middle without them.

But then there’s drishti. It may be the “least important” piece to the puzzle, but at the same time it may pack more bang for the buck than anything else.

All three, of course, make up Ashtanga’s Tristana. Check out this wonderful summary of Tristana from

Tristana is the key to this spiritual side of yoga. Tristana is the name for the union of vinyasa, bandha and drishti. Only when this state is achieved, does the lotus blossom of ashtanga yoga unfold its petals. Ujjayi breathing is the foundation of vinyasa. The alignment of the body in asana is achieved through bandha. Drishti completes the trio and builds the bridge, to carry the essence of your practise from the yoga mat into your daily life

That substitutes vinyasa in for breath, sort of — breathing is the “foundation of vinyasa” in this version. But to my point: check out how drishti “builds the bridge” to a practice that is more than just what’s happening on the mat.

That’s been my experience (albeit over a small set of practices). Getting my drishti down a little better — focusing my gaze and, by default, my concentration — feels like a minor adjustment or correction to the practice, but one that then produces massive changes and, almost, aftershocks.

“Completes the trio” undersells things, I think. “Locks you in and rockets you forward” might be closer to the experience.

And that’s weird. All from a narrowing of the gaze.

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

New workshop with Richard Freeman goes online: Dropping into Asana

On Monday, I think it was, Richard Freeman’s Yoga Workshop posted a new recorded workshop with him titled “Dropping into Asana.”

Link is right here.

It looks to be just about an hour long.

There are two different descriptions. From the Yoga Workshop page (linked to above):

We are always practicing asana, whether we realize it or not. In this recording Richard talks about how the movement of breath corresponds with our thoughts as well as our physical form. Various verses of the Yoga Sutra Sadhanapadah are discussed. 

And from the Soundcloud page where the talk is at: “Richard Freeman speaks about asana as contemplative form.”

Posted by Steve