Ashtanga Yoga is for 12-Year-Old Boys & Other Absurdities. ~ Peg Mulqueen

Via Peg Mulqueen
on Jan 2, 2013
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About Peg Mulqueen

With a gentle warmth and contagious sense of humor, Peggy shares her passion of life and love with all those she meets. She was a counselor for many years before stumbling upon one of the oldest forms of healing therapies: yoga. Since then, she has been helping others lead lives of change and renewal, exploration and—all from a yoga mat. When not on her mat, Peggy (her husband and two children close at hand) can be found on a surf board in Maui—learning to fall off gracefully and get back up, or suspended 500 feet in the air on a zip line over a Costa Rican jungle—conquering her fear of heights, or searching for the perfect cast, fly fishing in the wilder places of Montana. You can follow her adventures in yoga on her blog here.


17 Responses to “Ashtanga Yoga is for 12-Year-Old Boys & Other Absurdities. ~ Peg Mulqueen”

  1. David says:

    Right on Peg!

  2. mariavlong says:

    Ah, Excellent!

  3. Ruthie says:

    of course anybody can practice– but the practice has to be appropriate for that person. doing tons of chaturanga, up dog , down dog is simply not appropriate for many bodies. it is certainly not the ideal practice for many bodies. i think the ashtanga practice is a wonderful practice and i totally agree that it can be done in a healthy way (and that sometimes people are irresponsible with it) — but still , the structure of the practice is very particular and can be certainly inappropriate for some folks. and why try and fit yourself into a "pre-determined" sequence? there are many many awesome sequences and ways to practice, the ashtanga method being only one wonderful way. also, some people would totally benefit from a pose like dhanurasana but could never get through the second half of primary series– this person would never get to even practice dhanurasana for their whole life according to ashtanga yoga because – this is kind of silly!

  4. Michael D says:

    The idea that Ashtanga is always so rigid is a widespread myth, or an old dogma that many of the renowned wise-owls in Ashtanga do not subscribe to. Here are two examples, though I know of many more.

    Manju Jois, Pattabhi's son, gives people practising first series some postures from second series in cases where there is difficulty opening hips, the back or other areas:

    Tim Miller introduces people to the practice with an entirely different sequence from Primary that likewise involves shalabhasana, lunges, and anahatasana.

  5. Nayeema Akter says:

    Anyone can practice Yoga but it is necessary to know bout the technique properly and should practice under the guidance of an expert.

    Nayeema Akter

  6. James says:

    Nice article. Michael D is right. Many of the newer teachers have become excellent instructors of the sequence but have very little idea what to do when presented with a student who has different needs. The wise old owls are much more adept in this fashion.

  7. OleManJake says:

    Well done!

  8. Pardon my nagging -_- But what about Myth #7?
    And big thanks for good article! I've translated it into russian. Hope will be no copyright problem?)

  9. Thaddeus1 says:

    Editor oversight. Thanks for keeping me honest.

  10. shivin varghese says:

    Umm i just read its not gymnastics..

    Well well then i got to ask here. Why do d many western folks who turn up in Mysore should hire a professional photographer n have d asanas captured n have all of em posted on their fb profiles, websites bla bla .. n to top it all ive also seen this freakin americanized mentality of these so called “ashtanga yogis’ where they’d have the local indians staring at em\watching in awe as these folks’ postures are captured in d shutter. Its a clear reflection of d mindset of an “@$$….” n not a yogi for sure. I bet, even though there’s some marketing needed for expanding one’s yoga business (just d way how bikram yoga centres or Jois Ashtanga yoga class is promoted thru social networking), there’s no need to do the crap what these folks do at Mysore.

    And let me ask what does a student learn at mysore? Asana? Pranayama? Do they get insights on pratyahara, samadhi etc … well if yes, then ashtanga yoga is not gymnastics. If No, then the way it is all practiced around most parts of the world is like practising gymnastics…

    Though asana is important, let me put it this way … Yoga is still one among the philosophical systems of india.. and its not about the person who can do the “6th series” cud only attain samadhi before the 4th series practitioner. Its about shedding the typical western scientific approach “whether a pigeon would make my ass look firm” and just being yourself without pretending to be some “yogi”.

    Ever seen the Mahayogi lord Shiva do a complex last series asana in any of the puranas n vedas? :))

  11. Really enjoyed the article! Be glad you dont own stock in BP right now.

  12. @pegmulqueen says:

    i'll make this short but sweet: i've also heard stories of guruji saying that only as much asana as student needs to be able to move that work inwards. so the irony is, those who practice advanced series still have so much work to do.

    so when you see some twisted pose on FB, rather than judge too harshly, perhaps find some compassion. how much easier it would be to be the one who is able to find all they need much earlier. 🙂

  13. shivin varghese says:

    @pegmulqueen – well the inner conditioning of a person – does it really have anything to do with the advanced series of asanas? When i ask this to myself, i get a clear answer and the answer is NO. Take the example of Buddha, or even other Yoga vasisthas like Paramhansa Yogananda.. Or even take Christ or Mahaveera. They attained samadhi without doing much asana. These are ppl who walked on earth in flesh n blood. 🙂

    I got no issues with the Ashtanga community who follow Pattabhi jois or his school but yes Id say Ashtanga yoga or any other style of yoga has a deep intrinsic meaning which alone cudnt be answered by Yoga Mala or Yoga Korunta that Jois quotes always. Yes, also there are places where Pattabhi Jois contradicts his own statement. Therefore for some he is Guruji, for others he is a yoga instructor. 🙂

    Regarding Yoga pics, well no further comments from me.. as i also read a few other posts where some western instructor justifies why she poses nude or in a bikini for pics. Whatsoever i try puttin on this topic, there will be lot of corrections, justifications from a westerners’ view, so i leave it upto what an ideal practitioner really intends to.

  14. @pegmulqueen says:

    you are correct. guruji said, ashtanga yoga is an internal exercise, the rest is just a circus. but perhaps it is david swenson who says it simplest: a real yogi is one who leaves this place better than it was. thanks for having the conversation!

  15. shivin varghese says:

    🙂 well well Pegmulqueen .. you’re again quoting someone like Swenson? I know hes one among the first few batches of americans who made it to Mysore with his bro Doug…

    But id wanna add he’s one among those who also indirectly was responsible for making Ashtanga an expensive affair for the locals in this corner. I know you need not ask WHY? I need to, having my roots in india and still witnessing the fact where an average indian, even today intends to “have food and not yoga on the table” as quoted by an american yoga instructor against one of my comments made in E-journal.


  16. Boodiba says:

    Except #5 really isn't a myth.

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