Category: Philosophy

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Thoughts on Deepening an Authentic Yoga Practice

Authentic yoga practice is an exploration in relationship. One who is practicing yoga as sadhana (rather than yoga as entertainment) has a relationship with their teacher, a relationship with the practice method or tradition, and most importantly a relationship with the self. Ultimately, the real work of yoga is to deepen and strengthen these relationships. A solid and stable relationship...

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You Stop There: Lessons from Sharath Jois and Reflections on the Mysore Method

I recently returned from my first three month trip to practice with Sharath Jois in Mysore. I am not a newcomer to the Ashtanga system – I completed the 4th series with my previous teacher Rolf Naujokat earlier in 2014, and have maintained a daily Ashtanga practice for nearly 12 years. I knew that when I went to Mysore for...

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Reformation of an Ashtanga Zealot

In this article I describe my history with Ashtanga Yoga, how my approach changed over the decades, some of the problems that I encountered, their solution and how this has influenced my teaching. How I came to Ashtanga: Initially I was only interested in the meditation and philosophy aspects of yoga and practiced and studied those for many years. I...

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Broken Gods, Breaking Hearts: Pedestals, Boundaries, Pitfalls

By Norman Blair I would like to dedicate this to all teachers and students who have crossed my path. Thank you for your advice and your effort, your encouragement and your sustenance. I hope this article is helpful in our growth towards honesty, compassion and openness. STARTING WITH A SONG To start with words from a song by Katy Perry:...

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No Magic to Protect You in “Wild Thing”, And No Magical Way in Which Yoga Changes the World /// Plus We Heart Be Scofield

By Matthew Remski Nugget: The claim that Wild Thing can be done safely might involve the same wishful/magical thinking as the claim that yoga and meditation will automatically “shift consciousness”, whether individually, communally, or “vibrationally”. Both claims seem to depend upon overlooking concrete material conditions in favour of nurturing faith in vague metaphysical principles. Concrete material conditions demand specific learning...

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Update 3: What Are We Actually Doing In Yoga Asana /// “Wild Thing” Pose: Impossible, Injurious, Poignant

By Matthew Remski Certum est quia impossibile est. — Tertullian I’m closing in on fifty interviews for this project, and it’s getting richer every week. I’ve spoken to a trauma survivor who has been repeatedly triggered in asana classes by both invasive touch and psychological insensitivity. I’ve spoken to a medical doctor (as well as 30-year practitioner and teacher) who...

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The Box – Being Inside Looking Outside: An Ashtanga Story

By Norman Blair I would like to present this piece in the spirit of compassion, co-operation and communication. My thanks to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Sharat Jois and all teachers who have developed this practice and helped me along this path. The purpose of writing is to encourage debate and dialogue amongst practitioners. Some of what is written might be...

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Is This Spiritual?

By Melanie Cooper “Spiritual” is a concept or term often bandied around in yoga circles. It can be confusing to anyone – but especially a new student. We go along to a yoga class in our local gym thinking it’d be good to stretch our muscles after our workout. Then suddenly we learn it’s supposed to be “spiritual”. What does...

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Achievement Unlocked

By Susan Su Today Iain was given the last asana of the Ashtanga fourth series by his teacher, Rolf Naujokat. For all the non-yoga people out there, “finishing fourth” is an enormous achievement, beyond reach for 99.99% of humans and maybe 100% of Canadian ex-tree-planters/backcountry hikers/science nerds. I’ve spent many months carefully studying Iain’s success formula, and it basically boils...

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