Saturday, September 10, 2011


We're coming up on a Full Moon --- no practice on Monday! --- thought I'd share a little more of the philosophy that girds the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa as taught by Pattabhi Jois.

Jois (or Guruji!) was of the Hoysala Brahmin caste, a subset of the immensely popular Smarta Brahmins whose root teacher or sadguru was Adi Shankaracharya.

Shankaracharya, who most likely lived in the Eighth Century C.E., was one of the giants of Indian philosophy and arguably the forefather of Advaita Vedanta.

Much of Shankaracharya's work is available online; there are of course also later Tantra texts that bear his name that were not written by him.

His Aparokshanubhuti is online and worth a read on your moon day, especially as it addresses many techniques and practices we cultivate in Ashtanga Vinyasa, among them mula bandha.

As lines 114 and 115 read:

114. That which is the root of all existence and on which the restraint of the mind is based is called the restraining root [mulabandha] which should always be adopted since it is fit for raja-yogins.

115. Absorption in the uniform Reality should be known as the equipoise of the limbs [dehasamya]. Otherwise, mere straightening of the body like that of a dried-up tree is no equipoise.

The practice of mula bandha is fit for a King! Also doubtless Rajarajeshwari, the Queen of Kings. You can get an idea of the tenets of Advaita Vedanta by reading the text.

Finally, we'll return to Mysore class to once again to practice "equipoise of the limbs" on Tuesday!