Friday, April 11, 2014


I have taught daily Mysore in Portland since fall 2007; I launched Portland Ashtanga Yoga several years back (at the same location).

If you're interested in continuing our (mild) online conversation, you can follow me at the blog I keep at the Portland Ashtanga Yoga site.

As usual, I strive to incorporate words like cod-piece and fuckery in thoughts about Ashtanga. You will doubtless find the conversation as scintillating as ever.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Some great perspectives on handstands within the Ashtanga tradition:

"5 Rights Don't Make a Wrong: What Noted Ashtanga Teachers Have to Say About Handstands"

Also, what is the deal with Elephant Journal? I occasionally am redirected to interesting articles posted there, such as Carlos Pomeda's from early 2012, or even Kino Macgregor's, but then when I visit the site, there appears to be nothing but lists and T&A&Y (tits, ass and yoga)? What am I missing?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


As per conversation at the Confluence about Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois, and B.K.S. Iyengar, I re-read an older interview Iyengar gave regarding his teacher.

Iyengar was interviewed by Rajvi H. Mehta, and the interview was posted here.

"I was 15 when I first came in contact with my guru, Sri T Krishnamacharya. My stay with him was only for two years."

"He only used to make us perform jumpings. All our earlier performances were only with these sequences. Later, when I was teaching in Pune, quite a few wrestlers became interested in the subject. Pune was then famous for its wrestlers. The wrestlers were already performing thousands of Surya Namaskars a day, so it was a place where exercises with 'conative' action was very strong. They started questioning how their Surya Namaskars were different from the yogic ones. My internal observation while practising gave me the philosophic insight."

"No, pranayama was learned by myself. When he [Krishnamacharya] came to Pune, he said that he would explain 'Ujjayi Pranayama.' Beyond that he never showed me anything. But I had seen him practising pranayama and a little of that background remained with me."

"My Guruji came to Pune in 1938, as he was invited for a lecture demonstration ... After 1940, the only other time he visited me was in 1960-61. I had married by that time and had a family. He stayed with me for a month and was a tremendously changed person."

1. Iyengar never received Yoga philosophy, postural, breathing or meditation instruction directly or specifically from Krishnamacharya.
2. Iyengar was only directly exposed to Yoga practice with Krishnamacharya for 2 years, during his teenage years, age 15-17 --- say sophomore and junior year of high school.
3. Iyengar derived the Yogic aspect of Surya Namaskar through his own practice.
4. Iyengar developed and practiced his own system of pranayama.
5. After this initial 2-year period, Krishnamacharya only saw Iyengar three more times, when Iyengar was 18, when Iyengar was 20, and then finally when Iyengar was 42.
6. Krishnamacharya was apparently a colossal dick.
7. On consideration of this, perhaps Iyengar's genius has been understated, and perhaps Krishnamacharya's contributions have been overstated?
8. What level of innovation and contribution must Pattabhi Jois have made?

On one hand, glossed by the big picture of history, to participate in parampara is to stand in the stream of a tradition in which the teacher (guru) is the symbolic representation of these teachings.

On the other hand, to look closer is to reveal the lumps, the asymmetries, the rough and blurry edges of any tradition: Iyengar's experience and understanding of Yoga came about in spite of his teacher's efforts.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


As this is published, we are en route to San Diego for the 2013 Confluence, and looking forward to meeting up with old friends, showing the baby to Uncle Timmy, taking stroller walks on Mission Bay, and of course practicing Mysore-style Ashtanga Yoga. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


My long-time friend Chad Herst has been writing some terrific posts about Ashtanga lately.

His latest post is a shocker.

I am both sad and happy at the same time: sad because he is a great Mysore-style teacher; happy because clearly he has made the right choice.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Please replace the word "box" with "primary series":

The box, to Cornell, is a gesture—it draws a boundary around the things it contains, and forces them into a defined relationship, not merely with one another, but with everything outside the box. The box sets out the scale of a ratio; it mediates the halves of a metaphor. It makes explicit, in plain, handcrafted wood and glass, the yearning of a model-maker to analogize the world, and at the same time it frankly emphasizes the limitations, the confines, of his or her ability to do so.

"Wes Anderson's Worlds" by Michael Chabon 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I wrote a post called "The Alignment Problem" a few days (weeks?) ago.

(Excuse me I'm in a newborn baby time-tunnel here.)

I should have been more explicit that I don't consider all, or even that many, Ashtanga teachers "charlatans," Authorized, Certified, "jungle," or otherwise.

(The "jungle" Ashtanga teacher is the one out in the wilderness, doing her thing, without "official" connection to the tradition from Mysore.)

Taleb used the word however and it certainly is a provocative way to regard experts.

It is always interesting to consider the two ends of the Ashtanga spectrum, the emphasis on technique and alignment, and the emphasis on dynamism and movement.

Thankfully dig deeply in one and you find the other (hopefully), and vice versa.


January 31, 2013: