Friday, August 26, 2011


I received a great question from Matthew, who asks:

"I read the book Yoga Body by Singleton. The entire last chapter seems to try to disprove the validity of the order of the series in our style. How do you feel about that? I don't care whether or not the Yoga Korunta is responsible for the order of the postures, but I feel that there is a wonderful logic to it because of the way my body responds. I used to do "arbitrary" yoga and it doesn't come close in effectiveness for me. What are your thoughts on this matter?"

My response:

I don't feel Singleton's book disproves the validity of the various series of Ashtanga Vinyasa, nor does it raise questions about its efficacy.

What the book does do, however, is pretty well demolish any link between the specific series and either Yoga practices of antiquity (as in the Vedas, Upanishads) or medieval periods (the Sutras, Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, et al).

The Yoga scholarship of the last 15 years supports the theory that the modern body practices go no further back than modern, 20th century authors. This means we are not practicing techniques handed down in an unbroken lineage from days of yore.

Like I said, though, this does not discredit the efficacy or power of the sequences, or of practicing a set, determined series.

Rather, it means we have to acknowledge they, like all practices, have evolved to meet our needs and conditions as they are now.

What's more, this idea frees us from the notion that we are simply and merely trying to recreate some ancient yogi's experience.

I hope this is useful to you.

Enjoy your practice!