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For Teachers

Ashtanga is known as a complex practice, and often has a reputation as the practice that injures people. Gabriel continues to find studios and students who have practiced Ashtanga only to be injured and disenchanted with the transmission that they have received.

On closer discussion with these practitioners, over many years and across the globe, Gabriel has noticed that many Ashtanga teachers teach in Guruji’s manner, simply calling out numbers, without true understanding to placement of hands, feet, or the rest of the limbs.

Guruji’s hand on adjustments that served many practitioners in his small shala in Mysore gave way in the new shala to hundreds of practitioners. It is the responsibility to each teacher to expand their knowledge and principles laid out by Mr. Iyengar, who is really transmitting the same practice taught to him by Krishnamacharya. His approach is different, and thus extremely valuable for teachers.

These DVDs teach you the vinyasa format of Ashtanga. Vinyasa means to move with breath. Breath becomes the wind, and it is only the wind that moves the leaves on the tree. Practitioners need to learn how to surrender to the breath and allow the breath to traverse the body, expanding, healing, energizing and empowering the true being that lies within.

As you watch and practice these DVDs, notice how Guruji leads each practitioner with his voice.

In the words of David Swenson – the entire practice of ashtanga lies in Surya Namaskar A. One day you might get through the sixth series, then what? You would start the following day back in Surya Namaskar A and perhaps on this morning, with your ego satisfied, you might tune back to the “trishthana” principles of the practice – Breath, Bandhas, Drishti, and now you will immerse yourself deeper in the practice of Ashtanga Yoga.

You will notice that Guruji calls out ‘inhale’ and the practitioners will match their movements and breath until Guruji calls out ‘exhale.’ From this first set up of the rythm, Guruji and the practitioners will continue without any interruption through the Primary and secondary Series.

This is what is called ‘Led Practice’ – the practitioners learn to be led by someone else, as much as they learn how to be led by the breath in their daily Mysore practice.

Our hope is that more teachers and practitioners pay attention to this and other subtle nuances that are evident in Guruji’s precise rythm and corrections of hand, feet and body positions even with advanced students.


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