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

Guru Purnima: Pattabhi Jois and the infamous neti story

Monday’s full moon is Guru Purnima and the birthday of Pattabhi Jois. Eddie Stern has a celebration planned — with a promised surprise — and Tim Miller also has said he’ll be putting something together.

We’ll begin our celebration now, with a video remembrance of one version of the infamous neti story. Enjoy.

Posted by Steve

Take 6 minutes and watch this tribute to Pattabhi Jois

This video went up last summer, for the July Guru Purnima holiday. Today seems a good day to pass it along, in remembrance of Pattabhi Jois on the fourth anniversary of his passing.

I have a suspicion I know who put it together, but I’ll let him speak up if I’m right.

Posted by Steve

Guruji was here

A couple weeks back, we linked over to Tim Miller’s brief history of Ashtanga in Los Angeles. It included this:

Located in Larchmont Village at the site of a former Masonic temple, the Center for Yoga was the first yoga studio to open in Los Angeles in 1967. Owner/Director Ganga White drew inspiration from many different teachers during his 25-year tenure there, including Pattabhi Jois, who he hosted for a single class in 1985. I met Ganga and his partner Anna Forrest when they came to Encinitas to practice with Pattabhi Jois earlier that same year. Ganga invited Guruji to come to the Center for Yoga to teach a class, promising him a big turnout. Guruji accepted and was flown in a small plane to the Burbank Airport along with a few of his advanced students, brought along as assistants. I was one of those assistants, and witnessed what was perhaps the first guided ashtanga yoga class ever taught in Los Angeles. Seventy-five people showed up for the class, most of them with no experience of the ashtanga method.

Here are a few photos of the room that class must have happened in (it’s the “Big Room” in the now-Yoga Works studio). We were there today for a backbending — and a$$-kicking — workshop with Maria Zavala. Bobbie will have more on it later.



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Roundup of Guruji remembrances: Eddie Stern and others

We will keep updating this throughout the day as we encounter other remembrances of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. We’ll start with Eddie Stern’s, which is right here and here’s a little exerpt:

Guruji considered going, and spoke to the Head Master at the Sanskrit College to get his opinion about it. The Head Master told him, ‘If you go, Sivananda will get all the credit for your teachings, but if you stay here, one day your name will spread around the world’. So Guruji stayed in Mysore and dedicated himself to his students, and his name, his love, and his teachings, indeed spread around the world. Thank you, Guruji, once again, for your tireless devotion. May we live up to your example.

Eddie has a great series of pictures with his post. Check it out. Here’s just one:

And other remembrances and thoughts:

  • Thad, our friend at elephant journal, has a few thoughts up.
  • Peaceloveyoga has the video we posted earlier, thoughts and pictures.
  • Me and my yoga has thoughts up.
  • Realizing Mysore has a thanks to Guruji.
  • First update: Native Yoga.
  • Second update: Savasana Addict’s got a photo and Me and My Yoga does too. Plus, photos (on Facebook) from the morning puja at our shala, which Bobbie attended.
  • Third update: Yoganatomy. Photos from Pineapple Yoga (on Facebook).
  • Update four (on Sunday): Life after Mysore. Ashley Von Arx (I think I have that right).

We will keep adding — feel free to let us know of any in the comments section.

Posted by Steve

Happy birthday to Guruji’s Guru: T. Krishnamacharya

Today, Nov. 18, is Tirumalai Krishnamacharya’s birthday. The teacher of not only Pattabhi Jois, aka Guruji, and Iyengar, among others, was born in 1888 and died in 1989. Yes, he’s another who seems to prove that practice, practice, practice, and long life is coming.

Krishnamacharya, via kym.org

Krishnamacharya’s son, Desikachar, founded the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram to keep his father’s legacy alive. You can find more about it here.

Happy birthday to the man often called “the founder of modern yoga.” Without him, we’d all just be stretching.

Posted by Steve