David Swenson on using humor to teach Ashtanga

Our highlighting Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Melbourne’s first video of David Swenson a week ago was pretty popular, so you all will be happy to hear that there are more to come.

I found that good news via their blog, which I didn’t see when I discovered the first video of David. Link to it is here. It also notes that the videos were shot by Darius Devas of Being Films. I’ll be taking a look since there’s plenty of surf videos there.

Here’s the latest from David on using humor to teach Ashtanga:

Here’s a great quote from it: “The yoga is difficult but he brought a joy into the room and we were inspired to try and do more.”

We’ve touched on humor and the practice a bit. Here’s an old one focused on irony.

Posted by Steve

You knew it was coming: Response to ‘Yoga Girl’ video

Since we succumb to the virtual peer pressure and posted the original “Yoga Girl” video, it seems only fair we post the response.

There. Fair is fair.

Posted by Steve

Yoga Girl is Speechless

For a good two months you couldn’t have a conversation in LA without asking, “Did you see the Whole Foods Parking Lot video?” (found here). We have parked in that lot, and shopped at that Whole Foods, and it’s all true. Now, dude is back and talking about yoga.

I have nothing more to say about it, because I’m worried I’m not being serious enough about the practice.

Posted with knitted brow by Bobbie

A post about shame.

There are only two reasons why I’m doing this post: A dare from Yoga Rose, and an absence of Steve.

Draupadi, the image of modesty. (Painting by Raja Ravi Varma, via Wikipedia.)

Rose has given Steve a personal invitation to respond to this story about an obviously-naked Ashtanga teacher (the Ashtanga part’s less obvious). As Steve is out of town on Non-Yoga Related Business, you’re stuck with me.

You may be disappointed. I know nothing about Kim Kardashian other than her name is alliterative and sounds like an alien race from Star Trek. I have a vague understanding that she’s had an unusually short marriage and a messy divorce of some kind. That’s about it. So don’t expect much.

There was a big kerfuffle about naked yoga a while back, which makes it old news. But the fact that teacher of the Kardashian is a naked Ashtanga teacher makes it, I suppose, relevant to this blog. His name is Ralph Craig, and he’s described–perhaps in an unconsciously hilarious way–as “a 22-year-old Ashanga yogi and practicing Buddhist.” (My favorite part is the use of “yogi”: like, “See? We know the lingo here at The Hollywood Reporter!”) (Also the “practicing Buddhist” bit; that must make him legit.)

I’ll speak for both the Editors of The Confluence Countdown in saying that we do not approve of Naked Ashtanga. In fact, on the practice floor, both of us are…well, prudish. We get self-conscious if fabric comes above our knees. I sometimes worry if there’s too much exposed back in my tops. I check my seams and fabric thickness to make sure they’ll hold up in forward folds.

It should be said that we do not disapprove of Nudity as a concept. In fact, we’re Pro-Naked. But there’s a certain, oh, I don’t know, flashy kind of near-nakedness we go all grandma on. We generally tisk tisk the wearing of tight underwear-like bottoms, whether male or female. It’s become a matter of controversy in the house if I should wear leggings instead of baggy capris. (Have you no shame, woman!) There’s something modest about the practice that we both feel a kind of affection towards: There. I used the word. I’ll use it again. Modesty.

So there you have it. Get some clothes on, for pity’s sake! Maybe Steve will opine on the virtues of practicing in a t-shirt vs. a tank top in his next post.

Posted with irony by Bobbie

In today’s ‘stretching the meaning of yoga…’

I light-heartedly posted a few days ago about yoga on horseback.

Yes. That's a horse doing yoga. Via the Mail

I did so, in part, because the yoga practice can’t all be serious. If you think it has to be, I encourage you to take a Led class from Tim Miller.

And if he isn’t an authority enough, I’ll direct you toward the young — or even mature — Krishna. That’s a twinkle in his eye, even as he sees the coming Kali Yuga.

So, in this vein, a quick follow-up. This time: horses doing yoga.

I kid you not. It isn’t April 1, is it?

A veteran horse is still competing in old age after beating stiffness in his joints – by doing YOGA.

Super-fit Lewis, a 17-year-old Egyptian Arabian, mastered a string of yoga moves after copying his owner Linda Guanti, 35.

Linda was mucking out when she began practising her own stretches to help her bad back – and was stunned to see Lewis mimicking her.

That is how a story in the Daily Mail begins. And here’s how it ends:

She has become a part-time yoga instructor and now runs classes that people can bring their horses too.

She added: ‘There is nothing I can do about my weakened discs and damaged bones but the benefits of doing yoga with Lewis were unmistakable.’

‘Yoga with him has helped with the initial healing process and was keeping my body in the healthiest state is could be. All the past limitations and pain from my injury were lessening.’

‘I was overjoyed. My riding skills improved, my body awareness and balance improved. My outlook on life improved.’

‘Yoga is also just as beneficial for horses as for humans. Horses have the same issues as we do. Stretching and body awareness reduces injury and enhances performance and pleasure in activity.’

I’m not going to argue that Lewis feels better these days. I’m not even going to argue that horses — along with other animals — don’t have a consciousness that could do Yoga, as opposed to the yoga she clearly is talking about here.

But, but… there’s a point where we aren’t talking about Yoga anymore, right? It’s just “stretching,” only you can’t charge quite as much for the classes if you call it that.

I’m probably taking this too seriously. I guess, since we started this blog and I’ve been paying much more attention to “news” about yoga, that I’ve just been inundated with how fluid the definition of “yoga” is. I knew this already, of course, but it is pretty stark when you get the news stories into your inbox.

At least now I’ve shared it, so I’m not the only one burdened with the knowledge that horses doing yoga exists.

Posted by Steve