June 23, 2013

Throwback Video of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Teaching the Ashtanga Primary Series.

I’m not an Ashtangi, but I often wish I was.

I appreciate the dedication and intensity of the practice and the way many Ashtanga practitioners draw their practice inward, almost appearing trance-like. That’s the kind of practice that gets to the heart of yoga, that deep-seated mind-body connection that lies within everyone; we just have to take the time to listen.

My practice has taken a hit in recent years since becoming a mother. The demands of parenting don’t often lend themselves to 90-minutes yoga sessions. And with the Anusara implosion knocking some of the wind out of my yoga sails, I’ve found myself searching for some inspiration.

The other night, my YouTube search landed me on this gem. It’s a yoga video from November 1993 featuring Sri K. Pattabhi Jois presenting the Ashtanga Primary Series. The contrast between his simple instructions and the avidity of his students is intriguing—all without the music, buzzwords or intricate adjustments you often see today. Just a teacher and his students, with the ujjayi breath streaming in the background.

I’m not here to criticize today’s yoga. I play music in my classes and I’ve been known to use a buzzword or two. Instead, I offer this as a reminder of how sometimes simplicity is best, sometimes silence offers deeper concentration and how a committed practice can create beautiful results.

The students in the video are some of today’s leading Ashtanga teachers: Tim Miller, Richard Freeman, Karen Haberman, Chuck Miller, Eddie Stern and Maty Ezraty.



Like elephant yoga on Facebook


Ed: Brianna Bemel

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Thaddeus1 Jun 23, 2013 10:35am

Thanks for sharing this Amy. You are always welcome to join the Ashtanga collective. And don't let the commitment fool you, there are many ways to practice in the beginning which don't require a full 90 minutes a day.

Posting to Elephant Ashtanga. Be sure to Like Elephant Ashtanga on Facebook.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Amy Cushing

Amy Cushing is a stay-at-home mom and E-RYT® 200 certified yoga teacher pursuing her passion for writing. When she’s not chasing around two small tots, she can be found lost in a good book, cherishing quality time with her husband or having a much-needed laugh with her girlfriends. She’s on a mission to find simplicity in life so she can spend less time pulling out her hair and more time appreciating those who matter most. She loves yoga and music and has been known to bust out a mean rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider in times of chaos. She holds a B.S. in Political Science and an M.A. in English from Northern Arizona University. Connect with Amy on Facebook or Twitter.