It should be obvious, but just to make it explicit: I love Ashtanga Yoga and still practice it as often as fatherhood and a day job allow. That’s about three times a week now.
My obituary in The Economist of Pattabhi Jois, the founder of this yoga style, actually reflected that, even though a lot of people have chosen to interpret it as critical.
(Good writing is about coloring in characters in all their rich complexity, not about churning out hagiographies, as I hope I made clear when I wrote about the creation of this piece.)
Anyway, I came across these old videos of Jois teaching some of his students. And I was struck by the sheer aesthetic beauty of the flowing postures.
Here are excerpts from the first (or “primary”) series. There are nowadays six never-changing series of postures (one for each day of the week, with Saturday being a rest day).
And here are excerpts from the “intermediate” series. I find that this usually gets a laugh out of people: If this is intermediate, then what is advanced?
The students in the video, by the way, have since aged and become yoga celebrities in their own right. They are:
- Tim Miller
- Richard Freeman
- Chuck Miller and Maty Ezraty
- Karen Haberman
- Eddie Stern