This photo is from last summer’s Yoga Therapy five day intensive with Manju Jois, who was hosted by the lovely and welcoming Tina Pashumati James. At the end of the week Tina James invited everyone over to her home for dinner, and Manju prepared a few dishes using recipes passed down from his mother. Culinary parampara? I’ve been thinking about the different approaches Manju Jois, Sharmila Desai and Srivatsa Ramaswami take to a complete daily practice. Sharmila Desai encouraged staying in meditation during padmasana following the ashtanga vinyasa practice. For Manju, the emphasis was on pranayama and chanting after the asana practice. Srivatsa Ramaswami’s full practice concluded with a few asanas held for about five minutes (paschimottanasana, sarvangasana, shirshasana), mahamudra for five or so minutes each side with kumbhaka, then 108 rounds of kapalabhati, pranayama (potentially for almost an hour, usually viloma ujjayi) and finally chanting or meditation. I’ve done elements of all three approaches for the past year, including a daily practice of Ramaswami’s viloma ujjayi. Looking forward to sitting close to him again this week in Victoria.
In addition to the two weeks of study with Srivatsa Ramaswami, there were two other teachers I practiced under in 2018 that left a deep impression. The first of the two was with Sharmila Desai @sharmilasdesai . Like Fiona, Sharmila is a teacher of stillness. During her short visit to Vancouver she nevertheless shaped my understanding of the Ashtanga Vinyasa sadhana. Sharmila is attentive to every detail to the practice, right down to the alignment of a single finger. Of course, for its own sake, it doesn't matter whether a hand is held closed or opened in a bind, but I began to see that practising intentionality in every facet of our asana practice transforms it into a deep and embodied form of meditation.
Maria has guided me on the mat more than anyone else since I returned to Vancouver. She can see through the window of my practice into my larger wellbeing and is always there to support me. @ashtangayogavancouver @ashtanga_travels
Gratitude to Fiona Stang on her birthday. While her teaching is experienced most overtly through verbal instruction and touch, her richest guidance can be felt through stillness and silence. The shala she has created at @ashtangayogavancouver is also the embodiment of community - a space where we are all fellow students first and foremost. In an age where Yoga is increasingly experienced as a deliverable commodity, this is as precious as ever. Photo credit @mountainstrongbc