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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Awesome Yoga/Massage Weekend

Yesterday was a really awesome day.

It began with Ken's last yoga class at Yoga Shala. I enjoyed the class as always, but we were all sad that he's leaving. After class on Thursday Ken said that I need to work on my chaturangas because I was dipping my shoulders down and sticky my back end up too high. I knew I was doing that, but for some reason it hit me more when he mentioned it, so I focused on that during every vinyasa on Saturday, feeling like I was doing chaturanga in slow motion to try to do it correctly, and he said I was stick straight. Yay! It's very important to get that right because I do a lot of vinyasas, and dipping my shoulders down could hurt my rotater cuffs.

Immediately after that I had a deep-tissue massage that was wonderful. I was still a little sore from Thursday's class when I went back for more, so she worked on my sore areas a lot. It really is neat to have a massage therapist working on my sore limbs because I've been working them hard than on a sore back like they used to.

Then, I went straight to the Synergy Studio to catch the end of Judith Lasater's Restorative Yoga workshop. She's a neat lady, and a famous yoga teacher, so I'm glad I was able to participate in part of the workshop. Restorative yoga is very prop heavy. Some teachers feel nervous without props, but props tend to annoy me. It was a good experience and I learned a bit about Savasana, but it was just alright for me. I also got a cute picture and a signed book out of it. :) Now I have 2 books signed by famous yoga teachers. That's pretty neat.

Today I'm on a yoga high. I decided to try out something new and different for my lunchtime yoga class. One cool thing about teaching yoga is that I get to be creative. My classes are Ashtanga-based, but not Ashtanga because most of the students are beginners, so true Ashtanga would be too much for them (they're still too much for me at this point), and I like saving the room to be creative and improvise.

I have this poster from Matthew Sweeney hanging on my wall for decoration, so I decided to use it as a reference too. I don't know the Moon Salutations at all, and I've practiced them once in a class several months ago, so I decided to start with Chandra Namaskara A, so I don't overwhelm myself trying to learn something and then teach it in one day. Because I love being creative and my body just felt like doing certain things as I practiced Chandra Namaskara A over and over again. I decided to throw in some of my own variations to tomorrow's class. So here I am, trying to learn something new and teach it with variations tossed in at logical spots. I might be a little too excited.

Here's the lesson plan for the Chandra Namaskara A.

Chandra Namaskara A
Sitting on feet (like virasana but sitting on feet) (up to 10 minutes)
Engage your bandhas and begin ujjayi breathing
Exhale Extended Child’s pose (come to the pose to rest any time you need to)
Inhale all fours (spread hands, legs hip width apart)
Exhale Downward-facing dog
Inhale all fours
Exhale Extended Child’s pose
Inhale up on knees like camel

(Variations are in parentheses, add to 2nd round)
Exhale sit on feet for 5 breaths (half-moon side leans)
Inhale all fours (5 cycles of cat/cow)
Exhale downward-facing dog for 5 breaths
Inhale all fours
Exhale Extended child’s pose
Inhale up on knees like camel for 5 breaths (or camel pose)
Exhale+Inhale Sitting on feet
Exhale Extended child’s pose for 5 breaths
Inhale Sitting on feet for 5 breaths

I did all this because I should be writing up my practicum report, and making asana sheets for yoga school, and I'm procrastinating.

I've also been really into my essential oils and aromatherapy, spending the last week reading all about them and experimenting on myself and my friends. I mixed up an aromatherapy blend for tomorrow's yoga class. Since the class should be both relaxing and energizing, I mixed a blend of relaxing and energizing essential oils, lemon, lavender, mint, eucalyptus, and orange. Brad says, "So a little bit of everything?" and I protest, "No, a little bit of a bunch of certain things, every oil has a purpose!"

The raid in WoW is about to begin, but I'm skipping it tonight to work on my yoga class for tomorrow. I think I'm also going to add music. Oops skipping WoW because I'm too excited about yoga isn't very balanced of me. :-D

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yoga School, Birthday, CPR

I finished my practicum with Ken. I still need to write up the report, and I know basically what I'm going to write in my head. I just haven't done it yet. I have plenty of notes, emails, and memories to get it done. I just need to be inspired at the right time. Not when I'm in the car on the way to yoga class like earlier today when I felt inspired to write it.

Evening yoga classes are great, but rough. I go straight from work, get home at 8 or a little after, eat a late light dinner, take a bubble bath, and that's my evening. It's a great evening, but leaves me little time for anything else.

There are only 2 more Ken classes before he stops teaching as he plans his move to New Jersey. :( That's all I have to say about that :(

It was really neat how Ken popped into my life right after I signed up for teacher training. The massage therapist at my office introduced us when I said I was going to be a yoga teacher. Who knew there was an awesome yoga teacher working at my office all along in this style of yoga that I'd never heard of, but loved the minute I tried it? How awesome is that? I'm so glad I got to meet him and learn from him. Boo that he's leaving.

My birthday was Monday, and my friends are awesome. They know how to put on a birthday at work. They got me presents!

My favorite is Ashtanga Yoga Intermediate Series. They assumed that I must be intermediate or advanced. How sweet. I'm actually struggling with a lot of the Primary Series because it's HARD, but it's really neat to read about the intermediate series. It has some things that I can do, so I can work those into a vinyasa practice. It's kind of a vanity vinyasa class if it consists of everything I'm good at, and only what I'm good at, but sometimes that's fun! :) Also, you should never teach something that you can't practice and demonstrate well, so I can justify it that way. I should teach what I can do, and practice what I need to work on. Separating the teaching and practicing is hard, but important, so that's the big thing I'm working on now, along with not dipping my shoulders down in chaturanga.

Back to my birthday! It was tons of fun at work. I'm very fortunate to have some really great friends there. They decorated my cube, got cheesecake, cream puffs, that awesome yoga book, a cool coffee mug with "stats" like WoW loot, and a hot stone massage kit. It really was a great day except that I wasn't motivated to do any work, but I tried to anyway.

Emilie, the yoga teacher trainer gave me a dozen roses at yoga teacher training for my birthday. That was really sweet of her. She wanted to thank me for running the yahoo site and maintaining the archive of electronic copies of the handouts, homework, and stuff, teaching the other students how to use it, and making fliers for classes and workshops. None of that work was very hard or time consuming, and I like to help. It really was a shock to be handed a dozen roses in front of everyone.

My in-laws showered me with gifts as they love to do. I keep saying I don't need presents, but they love buying things, so I happily tell them what kind of things I want. My favorite gift was an essential oils kit and book. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. I really love this book and kit! Essential oils/aromatherapy are my new favorite thing to learn about, just behind Ashtanga yoga. I mixed some grapefruit and lavender oil today at work, and when the scent wafted into my friend Becca's cubicle she LOVED it and is very happy to "reap the benefits" of my new obsession. I hope it doesn't waft over to anyone who doesn't like it. I try to only use a tiny bit, but she sits very, very close to me, so it's unavoidable that she would smell it. I'm glad she likes it :)

This morning I got re-certified in CPR (I originally got certified last year, but you have to take a refresher every year). It's scary to imagine the situations that could come up, but it's really great to have training in how to help. What is done between when an emergency occurs and when the ambulance arrives can make the difference between life and death. I hope I never see an emergency like that, but knowing what to do beyond call 911 and freak out makes me feel good. I liked today's trainers better than last year. They were brutally honest about what it will be like to actually do CPR on someone, and said that you will hear ribs breaking when you do chest compressions. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek, I'm so glad they warned us, because that will freak me out enough, but knowing that it's normal and ok because ribs heal, but you can't bring people back from the dead, will prevent me from panicking and thinking that I'm doing more harm than good if ever need to do CPR.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ashtanga Yoga Thesis Paper Done

Presentation tomorrow. Do I have it planned and timed out? Naw, I'll go through each point and explain everything, stopping to demonstrate and practice the breath, the bandhas, the vinyasas, and the sun salutations.

I'm also bringing the mantras on my iPod to play because I don't have the knowledge and the ballz to sing them myself.

Edit: added whole paper instead of a link to the google doc.

Becky Trantham
February 7, 2010

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga yoga of Pattabhi Jois is a vigorous vinyasa yoga practice of specific traditional sequences and breathing technique that produces internal heat and sweat.


Ujjayi breathing is maintained throughout Ashtanga asana practice. Ujjayi literally means victorious or conquerer. Ujjayi breath is performed by controlling the muscles around the glottis in the back of the throat to create sound on the inhalation and exhalation. The sound comes from the back of the throat, not from sniffing. “To help correct any tendency to sniff, lightly stretch the skin either side of the nose to dilate your nostrils so that air is being drawn in at the back of your throat.”[1]

Ashtanga yoga teacher David Swenson came up with an exercise called the Hhhaaa Method. “You must sit up straight and take a full inhale through the nose and then let it out through the mouth with the soft sound of 'Hhhaaa' as though you are whispering.”[2] After this, you breath in and out through your nose, while maintaining the feeling of “hhhaaa” in the back of your throat.


Bandha, literally means lock or seal. “The basic premise of the bandha is that by restraining or locking the muscles on a physical level, a subtle unlocking occurs on a mental or energetic level.”[3] There are three main bandhas: mulabandha, uddiyana bandha, and jalandhara bandha. The bandhas unlock, preserve, and control energy while protecting the lower back from injury.

The mulabandha is the root lock, and should be maintained through the duration of Ashtanga asana practice. The mulabandha is activated by engaging the perineum muscle, but not clenching it. This is the same muscle group you would use to resist the urge to use the restroom or to do a Keigel exercise, but more subtle than that.

Uddiyana bandha literally means flying upward, and is also maintained through the duration of the practice. It is engaged by drawing the belly button towards the spine. It isn't literally sucking the belly in, but stilling the belly below the navel.

Jalandhara bandha is the chin-lock and is not held through the duration of the practice as the other two are; it is used in shouldstand and pranayama (breathing exercises). Jalandhara bandha is engaged by reaching the chin forward and down to the center of the chest.


The drishti is the point where the gaze should be focused. Each asana has one of nine drishtis assigned to it. The purpose of focusing on a specific point is to look in the direction of the stretch and to avoid distractions from the environment allowing you to focus your attention inward.

The nine drishtis are:

1. Nasagrai — tip of the nose

2. Ajna Chakra — between the eyebrows (third eye)

3. Nabi Chakra — navel

4. Hastagrai — hand

5. Padhayoragrai — toes

6. Parsva Drishti — far to the right

7. Parsva Drishti — far to the left

8. Angustha Ma Dyai — thumbs

9. Urdhva — sky


Vinyasa is linking movement with breath, and connecting one asana to the next. In Ashtanga yoga, vinyasas are performed to warm up at the beginning and to stay warm between postures. The vinyasa sequence between postures is Chaturanga Dandasana on the exhale, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana on the inhale, then Adho Mukha Svanasana on the exhale. To transition from Adho Mukha Svanasana to seated or standing, you can jump or step to or through your hands. To jump to standing, put weight into your hands and lightly jump the feet to the hands into Ardha Uttanasana on the inhale. To jump through to seated, the put weight into your hands like a handstand, pull the legs in close to the chest, and use your abs to pull your legs through to Dandasana without your feet touching the floor.


In Ashtanga yoga, the use of props is minimal, because they interrupt the flow of the practice. The traditional method is to use the body for support rather than an external object, for example resting your hand on your leg in Trikonasana instead of a block. David Swenson said, “I look at props like training wheels on a bicycle.” [4] Props are very helpful in making poses accessible to beginners, but they should wean off of them gradually.

Moon Days

Traditionally, asana should not be practiced on days of the full and new moon. “Like all things of a watery nature (human beings are about 70% water), we are affected by the phases of the moon.”[5] A vigorous practice is not recommended on full moon days because the full moon causes an increase in energy that can lead to overstimulation. During the new moon, joints are drier and people have less energy, making injury more likely. Only strict practioners observe the Moon Days.

Specific Traditional Sequences

There are six traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Sequences. First is the Primary Series, then the Secondary (Intermediate Series), followed by four Advanced Series. Originally there were only two Advanced Series, but they were split up into four. It is traditional to chant the opening mantra before asana practice.

Opening Mantra


vande gurunam charanara vinde

sandarsita svatma sukave bodhe

nihsreyase jangalikayamane

samsara halahala mohashantyai

abahu purushakaram

sankacakrsi dharinam

sahasra sirasam svetum

pranamami patanjalim




I pray to the lotus feet of the supreme Guru,

who teaches the good knowledge, showing the way

to knowing the self-awakening great happiness.

Who is the doctor of the jungle, able to remove

the poison of the ignorance of conditioned existence.

In his guise as the divine serpent,

with 1,000 white radiant heads,

human in form down to the shoulders,

holding the sword of discrimination,

the fire-wheel of time,

and the conch of divine sound,

to the sage Patanjali I prostrate.


Each series begins by practicing Surynamaskara A five times, Surynamaskara B five times, then the standing sequence, followed by the series of poses, and ended with the closing sequence. Surynamaskara translates to Sun Salutation. In both Surynamaskaras, there is one pose for each breath that is performed specifically on the inhale or exhale.

Surynamaskara A:

Begin at Samasthihi, inhale arms up to Urdhva Vrksasana, exhale fold to Uttanasana A, inhale look up half way to Uttanasana B, exhale to Chaturanga Dandasana, inhale to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, exhale to Adho Mukha Svanasana, hold Adho Mukha Svanasana for five breaths, inhale and jump or step your feet to your hands for Uttanasana B, exhale to Uttanasana A, inhale your arms up to Urdhva Vrksasana, and exhale arms down to Samasthihi.

Surynamaskara B:

Begin at Samasthihi, inhale your arms up and bend your knees to Utkatasana, exhaling fold down to Uttanasana A, inhale up to Uttanasana B, exhale back to Chaturanga Dandasana, inhale to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, exhale to Adho Mukha Svanasana, inhale to Virabhadrasana A with the right foot forward, exhale to Chaturanga Dandasana, inhale to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, exhale to Adho Mukha Svanasana, inhale to Virabhadrasana A with the left foot forward, exhale to Chaturanga Dandasana, inhale to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, exhale to Adho Mukha Svanasana, hold Adho Mukha Svanasana for five breaths, inhale jump the feet to the hands for Uttanasana B, exhale to Uttanasana A, inhale to Utkatasana, and exhale to Samasthihi.

Standing Sequence:

Hasta Padangusthasana, Pada Hastasana, Utthita Trikonasana on the right side, then left side, Parivritta Trikonasana on the right side, then the left side, Utthita Parsvakonasana on the right side, then the left side, Parivritta Parsvakonasana on the right side, then the left side, Presarita Padottanasana A, B, C, then D, Utthita Parsvottanasana on the right side, then the left,

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Utthita Parsvasiahita on the right side, Utthita Eka Pada Padangusthasana, Utthita Parsvasiahita on the left side, Utthita Eka Padasana, Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, Vinyasa, Utkatasana, Virabhadrasana A, Virabhadrasana B.

Primary Series:

With a vinyasa between each pose: Dandasana, Paschimottanasana A, B, then C, Purvottanasana, Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana with the right leg in lotus, then the left, Tireieng Mukha Eka Pada Pashimottanasana, Janu Sirsasana A, B, then C, right foot in first, then left, Marichyasana A, B, C, then D, bending the right knee first, then left, Navasana five times with Lolasana in between, Bhuja Pidasana, Kurmasana, Supta Kurmasana, Garbha Pindasana, Kukkutasana, Baddha Konasana A, B, then C, Upavista Konasana A then B, Supta Konasana, Supta Hasta Padangusthasana, Supta Parsvasahita, Supta Hasta Padangusthasana, Supta Parsvasahita, Ubbaya Padangusthasana, Urdhva Mukha Pashicmottanasana, Setu Badhasana.

Secondary (Intermediate) Series:

With a vinyasa between each pose: Pasasana, Krounchasana, Salabhasana A then B, Bhekasana, Dhanurasana, Parsva Dhanurasana on the right side, then left, Dhanurasana, Ustrasana, Laghu Vajrasana, Kapotasana A then B, Supta Vajrasana, Up and down from Supta Vajrasana five times, Supta Vajrasana for 5 breaths, Bakasana A then B, Bharadvajasana to the right then to the left, Ardha Matsyendrasana to the right then left, Eka Pada Sirsasana with right foot behind head then left, Dwi Pada Sirsasana, Yoga Nidrasana, Tittibhasana A, B, then C, Pincha Mayurasana, Karandavasana, Mayurasana, Nakrasana, Vatyanasana, Parighasana, Gomukhasana A then B on right side, then left, Supta Urdhva pada Vajrasana with right leg in lotus, then left, then the seven headstands: Mukta Hasta Sirsasana A, B, and C, Baddha Hasta Sirsasana A, B, C, and D.

Advanced Series A:

With a vinyasa between each pose: Vasisthasana, Viswamitrasana, Kasyapasana, Chakorasana, Bhairavasana, Skandasana, Durvasana, Urdhva Kukkutasana A , B, then C, Galavasana, Eka Pada Bakasana A then B, Koundinyasana A then B, Astavakrasana A then B, Purna Matsyendrasana, Viranchyasana A then B, Viparita Dandasana, Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana, Viparita Salabhasana, Ganda Bherundasana, Hanumanasana, Supta Trivakramasana, Dighasana A then B with right leg up, Dighasana A then B with left leg up, Trivikramasana, Natarajasana, Raja kapotasana, Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana.

Advanced Series B:

With a vinyasa between each pose: Mula Bandhasana, Nahusasana A, B, then C, Vrschikasana A, Sayanasana, Buddhasana, Kapilasana, Akarna Dhanurasana A, then B on right side then left, Padangustha Dhanurasana A then B, then A again, Marichyasana E, F, G, then H, Tadasana, Samanasana, Parsva Bakasana, Punga Kukkutasana, Eka Pada Dhanurasana, Eka Pada Kapotasana, Paryangasana A then B, Parivttasana A then B, Yoni Dandasana, Yoga Dandasana, Bhuja Dandasana, Parsva Dandasana, Urdhva Dandasana B, Adho Dandasana, Sama Konasana, Omkarasana.

Closing Sequence:

Dhanurasana three times, Vinyasa, Paschimottanasana, Salamba Sarvangasana for 25 breaths, Halasana for 10 breaths, Karna Pidasana for 10 breaths, Urdhva Padmasana for 10 breaths, Pindasana for 10 breaths, Matsyasana for 10 breaths, Uttana Padasana for 10 breaths, Chakrasana, Vinyasa, Sirsasana, Urdhva Dandasana A, Balasana, Vinyasa, Dandasana, Baddha Padmasana, Yoga Mudra, Padmasana, Utputhih, Vinyasa, Dandasana, Savasana.

Closing Mantra


svasthi prajabhyah paripala yantam

nyayena margena mahim mahisah

go brahmanebhyah subamastu nityam

loka samastha sukhino bhavantu



May all mankind be prosperous —

May leaders govern the world with law and justice,

May divinity and knowledge be protected,

May people of the world be happy.

History of Ashtanga Yoga

“Professor Sri Triumlai Krishnamacharya is considered by many to be the grandfather of modern yoga. By and large it is through his teachings that the systems of Astanga yoga (K.P. Jois),Iyengar yoga (B.K.S. Iyengar) and Vini yoga (T.K.V. Desikachar) were each developed.” [6]

“Jois has often spoken about a text called the Yoga Korunta, an ancient manuscript on ashtanga yoga, which had been the basis of the practical lessons on yoga taught to him by Krishnamacharya.”[7]

Krishnamacharya spent a year at the Calcutta University Library studying the Yoga Korunta. It was badly damaged and some sections were missing. The sections that Krishnamacharya was able to transcribe are now referred to as the primary, intermediate, and advanced sequences of Ashtanga vinyasa yoga. Krishnamacharya taught these methods to Pattabhi Jois, who then established the Ashtanga Yoga Institute where he taught Ashtanga yoga.

How Ashtanga Yoga Came to the West

The first Americans, David Williams and Norman Allen, went to Mysore to study with Pattabhi Jois and his son, Manju Jois, in 1973. “David introduced K. Pattabhi Jois and Manju to America and the western world when he, along with Nancy Gilgoff, organized and sponsored their first visit to Encinitas, California, in 1975.”[8] Manju chose to live in the U.S. after teaching a two-month workshop in 1975.

Power Yoga

Beryl Bender Birch began practicing Ashtanga yoga with Norman Allen and Pattabhi Jois in 1981 then began teaching after several years. In 1995, Beryl Bender Birch published a book called Power Yoga. “People rushed to embrace the idea of losing weight, building strength, and enjoying an aerobic workout, all within the calming and spiritual framework of Yoga practice.”[9] Power yoga is based on Ashtanga yoga, but the order of the postures can change, allowing freedom for creativity. “In many ways, Power Yoga represents an American version of Ashtanga Yoga.”[10]

Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga

As with all styles of yoga, Ashtanga yoga has many benefits to the mind, body, and soul. As a vigorous style of yoga, Ashtanga yoga will improve endurance and burn fat away as well as strengthening the muscles and increasing flexibility. It will also strengthen your heart with a constantly moving aerobic workout. Mental benefits are reduced stress, a calm and relaxed mind, and improved concentration. Emotionally and spiritually Ashtanga yoga will lead to compassion, a nonjudgemental attitude, joy, love, and letting go of negative energy such as: anger, anxiety, and depression.

Philosophy of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is named after Patanjali's Yoga Sutras because they are very important to Ashtanga Yoga philosophy. Ashtanga means eight limbs and represents an analogy to a tree. “Every tree in the forest has the same goal: to reach toward the light. One tree's method is not better than another's.”[11]

The eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga are:

1. Yama — ethical disciplines, restraint, control

2. Niyama — self observation

3. Asana — physical posture

4. Pranayama — breath control

5. Pratyahara — sense withdrawal

6. Dharana — mental act of concentration

7. Dhyana — meditation

8. Samadhi — a state of joy and peace

How Ashtanga Yoga Has Changed My Life

I had been practicing yoga off and on for three years when I discovered Ashtanga yoga. The benefits of yoga were apparent to me. Before I practiced yoga, I had chronic pain and spasms in my neck, shoulders, and lower back. After my first yoga class in 2006, I noticed a huge difference. After every yoga class, the first thing I said to my husband as I walked in the door was, “Wow, I feel so good!” I was practicing a vinyasa “yoga fitness” class at the gym, and I loved it. I got stronger and calmer, my back pain was gone, and I began to read about the philosophy of yoga. Eventually, the gym environment wasn't enough for me; it felt stagnant with the high turnover rate of students. I tried out as many classes as I could in studios all over San Antonio, and settled with a hot vinyasa class (in a 100 degree room). After 6 months, I felt like that class was stagnant as well. The class wasn't able to progress very much because we always had beginners in the class. I felt like a big fish in a small pond. That's when I was introduced to Ashtanga yoga by Ken Willian, a coworker who teaches Ashtanga yoga.

I walked into his class expecting it to be right at my level, but it was much more challenging than any yoga I’d ever practiced. I sweated more than I did in a 100 degree room, and I spent a good portion of the class collapsed on the floor. It humbled me and showed me that yoga asana should never get boring because there is always a way to be challenged.

Now after 6-months of Ashtanga yoga practice, I feel all of the benefits I felt with vinyasa yoga amplified. Physically, I'm pain-free, much stronger, 8 pounds lighter, more flexible, and have more energy. Mentally and emotionally, I'm able to stay calm and happy when faced with stressful situations, much happier, and have more positive thoughts and fewer negative thoughts. I'm very grateful to Ken for introducing me to Ashtanga yoga and to every teacher who led up to the practice of Ashtanga yoga in San Antonio, Texas.

[1] Scott, John. Ashtanga Yoga: The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Dynamic Yoga. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 2000.

[2] Swenson, David. Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual. Austin, TX: Ashtanga Yoga Productions, 1999.

[3] Sweeney, Matthew. Astanga Yoga As It Is. The Yoga Temple, 2005.

[4] Swenson, David. Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual. Austin, TX: Ashtanga Yoga Productions, 1999.

[5] Miller, Tim.

[6] Sweeney, Matthew. Astanga Yoga As It Is. The Yoga Temple, 2005.

[7] Jois, Sri K. Pattabhi. Yoga Mala. New York, NY: North Point Press, 1999.

[8] Williams, David.

[9] Swenson, Doug. Power Yoga for Dummies. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing, 2001.

[10] Swenson, Doug. Power Yoga for Dummies. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing, 2001.

[11] Swenson, David. Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual. Austin, TX: Ashtanga Yoga Productions, 1999.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ashtanga Yoga Thesis Presentation

I have my Ashtanga thesis presentation on Sunday. Don't they make it sound all fancy? I wrote an 11-page paper about Ashtanga yoga, and I'm giving a presentation to the class on it. It's not that big of a deal, but I'm nervous and excited about it.

I've been teaching an Ashtanga-based beginners class at work. It's really neat to teach people who genuinely want to learn. I beam with excitement as I eagerly answer their questions, even when it leads me to do a vinyasa over and over again so they can watch the details. I hope I never lose this enthusiasm and love of teaching.

My class on Monday went really, really well. It was a small class. The New Year's guilt has worn off. People seem disappointed to see only 3 or 4 people in class, but it doesn't matter to me as long as I have someone to practice on. I've noticed that people are more comfortable asking questions in smaller groups, so it's really great for beginners. Everyone who was there wanted a vigorous workout, and I was happy to oblige. I guess the people who want gentle stretching got scared off. hahaha

My goal for next week is to explain more about the breath at the beginning. Also, since I'm basically teaching modified Ashtanga Primary Series, I really feel like I should explain the bandhas, even though moola bandha is awwwwwwwkward, especially to coworkers.