Most practitioners of Ashtanga have experienced it. You get settled, happy with your practice, and life intervenes. You have to move. Now, you need a new teacher. Or your job means you can’t practice at your shala anymore (no shower? stinky yogi!). Or you have to go to school and can’t afford it. You practice at home, go to workshops, or wander around in a new town looking for a new teacher.
My first Ashtanga teacher was Pamela Ward at Yoga Path in Irvine, CA. I’d just gotten comfortable with the practice, and bought a year’s membership, when I showed up for class one day and the doors were locked–the studio went bankrupt.
I found Shayna Liebbe at YogaWorks in Mission Viejo. Shayna’s life ended tragically, but through her amazing teaching I found Diana Christinson and Tim Miller. I was home. I had not one shala, but two.
Then, we had to relocate to Los Angeles. I was lost. I had shoulder surgery. I wandered around. I wanted to love. I went to retreats and teacher trainings with Tim, drove for two hours to get to Carlsbad whenever I could. Finally, Jorgen Christiansson opened Omkar108. A new shala, a new home.
It seems to me that this is part of being an American Ashtangi, why the Confluence seems so right, so needed. There are many different paths to practice, one Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. I remember Tim saying to me, “Two gurus, bad yogi!” The amazing thing, really, is that all my teachers have taught the same practice, the same breath, the same drishti, bandhas, asanas.
At the Confluence, we will get a chance to see the incredible continuity Guruji gave the practice, across teachers, across continents.