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) http://on.fb.me/17EBEyF

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

Jul 10, 2014

Interview with Tonya Ruddick

Tonya Ruddick


Favorite food: 

Mainly Iowa and Colorado. I have been a bit of a vagabond.

# of trips to India: 
4 to India, 3 to Mysore

Current Location: 
Albuquerque, NM. Based in southern California.

What was your first impression of Mysore practice? 
The first Mysore class I attended was with Richard Freeman. I had been practicing other styles of yoga for several years and thought I was hot stuff. That first Mysore class was intimidating and extremely humbling.

What inspired you to get started? 
When I was introduced to Ashtanga I felt I was ready to make more of a commitment to myself and Ashtanga definitely asks you to step up and commit!

What did you like about it? 
I liked the intensity of the practice, the discipline and that it was connected to a lineage.

What was hard about it? 
Kicking my ego to the curb, being humbled every day and some of the lifestyle changes.

How did you move past those challenges? 
I just kept practicing, kept showing up and doing the work.

What keeps you inspired? 
The improvements I've noticed in my life-- physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. It keeps me connected and helps me to be a better version of myself.

What do you keep with you from your studies with Sharath? 
That it's not about the asana.

What is your daily schedule like? 
Wake up at 3:45am, practice, teach, coffee, writing, errands, eating, maybe a hike or some time in nature, spend some time with my love, early to bed.

What advice do you have for beginners? 
Breathe, take it slow and stay with it. There's no rush to get anywhere. Practice, practice, practice. 

What is your favorite thing about this practice? 
It continually challenges you and shows you where you're at, keeps you in check. It truly is a transformative practice.

Tonya Ruddick has been a student of yoga for more than ten years. She studied many different styles of yoga until being introduced to Ashtanga yoga by David Garrigues in 2008 at the Vibrant Living yoga teacher training program in Bali. She connected to the practice immediately and has been a dedicated student ever since. Tonya has spent the majority of the last ten years traveling and has spent significant time studying yoga and meditation in Asia. She has shared the gift of Ashtanga yoga with students in Seoul and Dubai where she assisted Nea Ferrier (authorized level II). She travels to Mysore every year to study with her teacher, R. Sharath Jois, and is a KPJAYI level I authorized teacher.