Forward Folding Workshop
Interview with Iain Grysak on Becoming Animal
Interpertation of pain and injury in context of Ashtanga Yoga practice
Foreword from Stu Girling First of all I want to say that I really love the way Iain writes and that he has the conviction to always say exactly what he is thinking. For this particular post I felt it was necessary to put a little bit from me up front as the views put forward are so opposite to mine. So why am I posting it you may ask. Well the answer is very simple. As a resource site…
The Geometry of Bandha
Bandha naturally emerges within a person when the two polarities of the spectrum of any given aspect of our existence are in relative balance and communication with one another. If we stand in the middle of a high mountain ridge, we can clearly see what lies on either side of the ridge. Similarly, in the balanced state of bandha we can easily feel the qualities of either end of the spectrum of our potential experience. From this vantage point, we…
Becoming Animal: Cultivation of Organic Intelligence
Using Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Meditation as Embodiment Practices for the Cultivation of Organic Intelligence A practitioner in my Mysore program recently asked me: “If one side of a posture is more open than the other, and I feel like I can keep going deeper in the more open side, should I hold back to try to even it out with the less open side?” My response drew from what I feel is one of the most beautiful aspects of…
Starting Third Series: Reflections on an 11 year relationship
Starting with Advanced A I first began to practice the third series (Advanced A) of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system in early 2005, shortly after relocating to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Northern Canada. I had learned the primary and intermediate series from Mark Darby in Montreal the year before, and following a period of travel and then settling in a very remote and isolated corner of the world, I was far away from anyone who could offer me guidance…
You Stop There, Part 2: Reflections on my second trip in Mysore
I recently completed my second three month trip practicing with Sharath Jois at the KPJAYI in Mysore. Last year I wrote two blog posts about my first trip, “A New Chapter” and “You Stop There”. These articles expressed my perspective of the experience of starting over as a beginner with Sharath, after having had a daily Ashtanga practice for 12 years
Why I don’t Chant, Part 2: Tradition and Self Authority
Last week I published an article titled “Why I don’t Chant”, in which I explained some of the reasons that I don’t use the Ashtanga opening and closing mantras in my classes or in my personal practice.As expected, I received mixed feedback on the article. Some people expressed that it resonated with them deeply, while others felt that by omitting the chant I was failing to do proper justice to the tradition.
Why I don’t chant
I am often asked why I don’t lead the traditional opening and closing mantras in my Ashtanga Led and Mysore style classes.When I read the above quote from Indian classical vocalist Bombay Jayashri, I was reminded of some of the reasons for this.This quote from a musician reminded me of my yoga practice because Indian classical music and Ashtanga vinyasa yoga share some common features: An Indian Classical raga has strict structural rules that need to be followed by the performer, just as there is a strict vinyasa count and sequence to be followed in the Ashtanga system. In both practices surrender to this structure is essential to access some of the aspects of self-encountering.