Sep 30, 2014

Yoga is a tool

Authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher Harmony Lichty of Ashtanga Yoga Victoria speaks about how Yoga helps one reflect ones day to day life patterns and fears, and helps become a tool to self reflect and evolve.

Jul 24, 2014

Ashtanga Yoga Drishti 101

"Dṛṣṭi means gazing point. There are nine dṛṣṭis in the āsana practice. If the dṛṣṭi indicated for the āsana is too difficult, one may always revert to nāsāgra dṛṣṭi. With time and practice, the proper dṛṣṭi for each posture will be possible. Dṛṣṭi improves concentration and brings about a realization of oneness during the practice. With the gaze focused in one place during our practice, we can be more present in the postures. This focus and awareness can carry over into our daily life."
~ Sharath Jois

"By practicing these drishti (dṛṣṭi) points the mind no longer looks around, observing or judging, but instead becomes focused and soft. In the vinyasa system, drishti is one of the vital components to draw prana inwards. Prana follows awareness. If our awareness is scattered then our prana will mirror those same qualities and it will be evident in our behavior and life choices on and off the mat."
~ Magnolia Zuniga

The 9 Drishtis
1 - Tip of the nose - Nasagra Drishti
2 - Up to space - Urdva Drishti
3 - Third Eye - Brumadya Drishti
4 - Tip of the middle finger - Hastagra Drishti
5 - Tip of the thumb - Angushta Drishti
6 - Right Side - Parshva Drishti
7 - Left Side - Parshva Drishti
8 - Navel - Nabi Drishti
9 - Tip of the big toe - Padagra Drishti

Guruji: "Yoga is an internal practice, the rest is just a circus".

Credits, References, Notes:
Please consult your teacher regarding correct drishti. For ease in reading for non-Sanskrit speakers, we have chosen to spell sanskrit words phonetically rather than using diacritic marks.

Magnolia Zuniga (KPJAYI Authorized, Mysore SF)

Awesome Editor: Jessica Walden (KPJAYI Authorized) and Elise Espat (KPJAYI Authorized, Albuquerque Ashtanga Yoga Shala)
Cartoon guy: Boonchu Tanti (KPJAYI Authorized, AYBKK)

Jul 22, 2014

Moon Day Friday, July 25

No asana, just rest!

Why? Read this post with explanations and commentaries from:
-Shri K. Pattabhi Jois
-Richard Freeman
-Tim Miller
-Eddie Stern
-David Miliotis
-and The Yoga Comics

Jul 13, 2014

Practical Guide: Your First Month of Practice

1. Just show up.

2. Don't worry about memorizing anything.  Your aim is to show up every day. The rest will come automatically. No one in the class cares if you know what you are doing. The teacher doesn't expect you to know anything.  Just show up. (And remember to take off your shoes.)

3. Each morning you will wake up and some days you will feel good and some days you'll feel bad and the thing is to get past the ups and downs of the mind and just show up anyway.  This isn't the kind of thing where you think to yourself "oh, I feel nice today I think I will go to yoga".  Nope.  The yoga bit is showing up regardless of how you feel because feelings are always changing. Philosophically, this is the identifying with the unchanging Yoga Sutra thing. Try to get right away that it ain't about the asanas. Just show up.

4. Or maybe think about the asanas as where your body is located in space.  So rather than your body being at home, take it to the shala.

5. Build up your daily practice with the mantra of "slow and steady".  There is no rush.  There is no finish line.

6.  The first month (actually, the first few years) is all about trying to establish a habit.  That is one of the reasons why you start with a small amount of time.  It is much easier to show up for perhaps twenty minutes each day than 90.  This is different than going to a 90 minute yoga class.  This is about a daily practice as part of the rest of your life.  Start small.  A little each day. This is the traditional method for learning and practicing Ashtanga yoga.  We aren't changing a thing because this really does work.

7. It is ok to know nothing. It is ok to feel uncomfortable. It is ok if your ego gets bruised.  Be willing to learn.  Just be a student.

8. Yoga is not friendship time. Yoga goes beyond that. You can leave all that at the door.  You don't have to say good morning or be in a nice mood.  It really isn't about that. Your teacher isn't supposed to be your friend. Your fellow students are busy learning and practicing just like you are.  Let the space be more.  Let the energy be raised.

9. Just show up.

10. Keep showing up.

YYMysoreProgram (1920 x 1080).m4v from Yogayama on Vimeo.

Jul 11, 2014

Guru Purnima

Saturday, July 12 is Guru Purnima.

"Yogacharaya Shri K. Pattabhi Jois (Guruji) was born on the full moon of July 1915, in Kowshika, a small hamlet located 150 kilometers from Mysore in the southern state of Karnataka..."

Chant the Guru Stotram.

Practice with Sharath in the US.

"They thought that the boys and men that would come to my class would be a bit shy because I’m a woman. But I was determined; this was something I wanted to do. So I did it! The decision was all mine..."

Guruji's teacher: Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

Mary Flinn was one of my first serious teachers

Guy Donahaye was my first Mysore teacher

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya 
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah