Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Ashtanga yoga, power yoga, Jois yoga......
Ashtanga yoga means eight-limbed yoga.
"In the old days, there was one book that explained the Ashtanga vinyasa yoga system as taught by Sri K Pattabhi Jois at his Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute (AYRI) in Mysore, India." I quote from Yoga Chicago. Sri K Pattabhi Jois merit is that he taught Ashtanga yoga during all his life, he has spread it in the world (he has not invented this yoga system, how some yogis/yoginis think). He taught also Western people who again taught it. It was a bit like a snowball system.
I summarize: When we speak of Ashtanga yoga we mainly speak of the 6 challenging series that consist of a set of given asanas connected via vinyasas. Not so many yogis are able to do all the series. A few years ago I heard that Sharath (the grandson) has been the only one who has been practicing all the series. What I see online on YouTube i.e. makes me believe that more yogis/yoginis practice all the series nowadays.
Power yoga: Beryl Bender Birch was one of the first women who went to India to Sri K Pattabhi Jois to learn Ashtanga yoga and she was obviously fascinated as she dedicated her life to teach the series. She wrote a book, too. She was convinced that she couldn't sell this yoga in the US if she'd call it Ashtanga yoga. This is why she called her book that explains the first series "Power yoga" (I learned this in a workshop offered by her.) This was not at all appreciated in India and it was more or less the end of the friendship. Ms Birch wanted to sell her book and she believed it was only possible if she would give the Ashtanga yoga a more flashy name for America. In India one insisted to name it Ashtanga yoga.
Jois yoga: We are still talking about the 6 series that were written down in a book and taught by Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. At the end of his life Ashtanga yoga became more and more popular. When I saw a picture of Madonna with her leg behind the head even for me it was clear: This I want to do as well. In almost every country of the world we yogis and yoginis find Ashtanga yoga studios. Everywhere around the clock passionate practitioners practice these series, also now while I am writing this. So much joy Mr Jois has spread around the world with his teaching. Gokulam became a place of pilgrimage and a big business. A new shala had to be build for all the students who spent months in India to learn with guruji, how many call him. Last year he passed away. The Ashtanga yoga community will go on growing. I am convinced of this. The family, his daughter Saraswati and her son Sharath who both teach the Ashtanga system continue the work of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Mr Jois loved money, his family loves money, we all do. Ashtanga yoga needed a new name to sell it better: Jois yoga. (probably a legal thing)
Beside these three names vinyasa yoga exists. This is more or less free style. Asanas are connected via movements. No series exist, but the system is similar to that of Ashtanga yoga.
All these words Ashtanga yoga, power yoga, Jois yoga will remain existing. Surely a bit confusing. It's always the same that is behind the notions: the 6 series and how they were written down in the yoga korunta.
Time to practice. Time to step on my mat to start with the first surya namaskara A, second series today. Time to practice power yoga ähhhhhh, of course jois yoga ähhhhhhhhhhhh, for me it will remain Ashtanga yoga. Now where I can remember the name........................
Only change is permanent.
Picture: This is my favourite walk in the Alps, this thightrope walk that can be seen, beginning from Herzogstand.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois:
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