Photos of the Ashtanga Series on the Web

Arjuna, an Ashtanga yoga student & teacher in Germany, has a wonderful website with photos of each posture of Series 1 through 4 (!) plus Surya Namaskara A, Surya Namaskara B, and the Finishing Postures. He even includes details of the vinyasa count for each posture.

ashtangayoga-info-vishwamitrasana.jpg

Arjuna demonstrates Vishwamitrasana from the 3rd series.

This is the only site we know of that has a systematic listing of photos of the 3rd and 4th series. Note that Arjuna says:

However, because I only did the primary and intermediate series under Pattabhis guidance, when I practice the advanced series I use the counting and method I have learned from some senior students of Pattabhi Jois.

The official site AYRI.org has photos of the Primary Series, but they are all on one page so:

  • You cannot link to a unique posture directly to illustrate a posture name
  • No transitions are shown
ashtangayoga-info-vasisthasana.jpg

Vasisthasana

Arjuna has also posted PDF files with these photos by section, along with other useful information, like suggested adjustments (also with photos).

Warning: don’t try those advanced series at at home. There’s a reason why this stuff is only taught under the close supervision of an authorized teacher.

Arjuna leaves us with an interesting thought:

The “most traditional” form of Ashtanga Yoga still differs quite a bit from teacher to teacher.
Maybe Ashtanga Yoga is like yeast. If you put a bit of curd in milk, the yeast will transform the milk into curd. You can take your curd to any country, put it into milk and it will happen. – But the curd will always taste a bit different. The yeast is the same, but the milk changes. Likewise, Ashtanga Yoga has a different flavour everywhere, but it is still Ashtanga Yoga.

8 thoughts on “Photos of the Ashtanga Series on the Web

  1. g

    Yeah, but: I asked somebody close to Guruji’s family about this different flavors business. The answer: “Ashtanga is everywhere and always the same method, is not changing. Is only people forgetting”

  2. Lauren

    From a discussion I had with my teacher, who learned the method directly from SKPJ, I would have to agree with G on this. Much as I respect Arjuna for the physical beauty of his photographs and as an amazing fountain of information, I am not sure that what he has done is exactly within the bounds of the method as it is taught by Guruji – sounds a bit circular, I know. Nevertheless, Arjuna’s website is a constant resource for me – I practice only slightly more than half of Primary.

    On another note, while I think this is a great site and I look at it every day to see what’s going on in “ashtanga news”, I have to say, there hasn’t been much “news” of late. Arjuna isn’t exactly news. Nor is Craig Snyder’s rant. On the other hand, having KJS comment daily on the NYC world tour: THAT was excellent! As was Govinda’s comment on his experiences teaching in Japan. I would very much like to see more new and original commentary, as opposed to the derivative stuff.

    For example, perhaps you could have correspondents from various Ashtanga workshops going on around the world. Manju is in NYC next week. Darby is in NYC next week. Since I’m from NYC, that’s what is on my radar screen – but there must be plenty of ashtangis out there who are going to some of the various international workshops who are willing to give some interesting commentary. And we all know that Ashtangis are the best writers!

    While we’re at it, how about a Mysore correspondent? How about a debate between devotees of the AYRI versus those who believe that they get more out of Mysore Mandala? How about a quick guide to what to do in Mysore?

    Wow, this got long…

    Hope to see some more “news” soon!

    Lauren

  3. g

    BTW, has anybody seen Matthew Sweeney’s new book? I practiced with him last year. Really good teacher, really good at explaining.

  4. tracy

    Lauren,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

    Regarding news, we started AshtangaNews with the idea that one of the things that would make it really great is insightful contributions from the community, eg Govinda’s, KJS’ and Lori’s great posts.

    Perhaps you could help by hooking AshtangaNews up with some good Ashtangi writers or contributing something consistent with AshtangaNews’ content yourself…

    To many Ashtangis, Arjuna’s website is news – i.e. me before January 2006 when Philippe pointed it out to me – and Arjuna’s contribution can be quite helpful and interesting to Ashtangis residing in places like Puerto Rico, a far cry from New York Ashtanga-wise. I know an Ashtangi in Puerto Rico who really doesn’t have anyone to learn from and like many people, does not have the resources now to travel about to Mysore or elsewhere.

    One of my favorite quotes (from Bernal Yoga in San Francisco), “Think globally, bend locally”. But for this commentary, I think I’d switch the order: bend locally, think globally.

    cheers,
    Tracy

  5. Linda Maddocks

    I’ve seen Matthew Sweeney’s new book and it’s awesome. I haven’t bought a copy yet. I got to see the end of his practice @ AYRI in Feb when I was there. I was coming in as he was finishing. I’ve never seen such graceful backbends. Amazing really.

    By the way, I am Boodiba, astanga blogger, formerly “First Trip to Mysore” from last October to early May. Now that I’m looking toward my second trip, I am, consistently enough, “Second Trip to Mysore’.

    I practice @ Shiva Shala with Greg Tebb and will be doing Manju’s five day workshop next week. It’ll be interesting for me because I’ve never met him AND I’m at a new place in my practice. He’s Greg’s main teacher too so I can’t help but think the continuity will be good for me. I’d be happy to send an account of my experience.

    In closing, let me say I love Arjuna’s site & have been using it as an easy reference tool for quite awhile.

  6. Ralph Craig

    I don’t think it’s due to people forgetting. Guruji has changed his methods over the years to refine the practice. The way he taught David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff, and David Swenson back in the 70′s is different than the way he teaches now.

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