Category Archives: Teaching & Learning

Ashtanga Teacher Requirements Updated

For more than 10 years Ashtanga yoga has had a process for authorizing and certifying teachers (there is a difference between authorization and certification - the latter is a lot harder to achieve). As with the teaching of the practice itself, this process has also slowly evolved. The requirements to become an authorized or certified Ashtanga yoga teacher were updated this week. These are the requirements set forth by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

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from MMillerNH

We wondered what exact changes were made to the Ashtanga teacher requirements between this week and the last time they were updated in October 2006. Both Ashtanga.com (more detailed) and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute site list these requirements.

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, the Wizard of the Interweb (whiz kid sister to the Wizard of Oz) was able to help us. The two main changes are:

NOTE: A student should by no means visit AYRI in Mysore for the sole purpose of getting authorized. Their visit should primarily be for their own education of the lineage to further their own practice under correct guidance of Pattabhi Jois.

and

NOTE: AUTHORIZATION SHOULD NOT BE REQUESTED BUT GIVEN. The decision to give authorization or certification to teach is by no means solely dependent on the number of times a student has visited Mysore. It is based upon Guruji and Sharath’s evaluation of the person, his/her commitment and full respect of the lineage of the practice. Authorization is given with the trust that an AYRI student will teach as he/she has been taught in Mysore by Guruji and Sharath.

For an exact comparison between the October 2006 and April 2007 guidelines, here’s a PDF of the Ashtanga teacher requirements with revisions marked.

 

 

 

 

 

The information for how to register for class in Mysore is here: AYRI’s class information and Ashtanga.com’s class information.

Ashtanga.com maintains a list of authorized and certified Ashtanga teachers along with workshops taught by these Ashtanga teachers. That information is not available on AYRI. The workshop list can be sorted by location, date, instructor and date added to the list. Handy!

Hope this helps! By the way, what is the theme of this post’s photos?

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from KevinHoth

Interview of Ashtanga Practitioners in Tokyo

In a previous post we talked about Lisa Hill from Chicago who is currently teaching in Tokyo. Here is an interview of some of her students and co-teachers from the Tokyo Yoga studio in Shibuya.

What do you think about yoga students in Tokyo?
It’s becoming more competitive. Everyone is too strict, too serious. Most people are doing only two things: yoga and work. They should enjoy doing some other stuff. Girls, especially, need to make time to find a boyfriend. Most serious practitioners are not even dating.

What do you get out of Ashtanga?

Makes my creativity sharp, and gives me power to work. If I don’t practice Ashtanga, I am not inspired to do anything but sleep. It is a source of energy. Sometimes physically, it makes me tired, but whenever I practice, my mind and heart get more energy. Ashtanga can make me exhausted. It’s hard to get heat. Practicing brings results, bringing self confidence.

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Yoga for us: a source of energy

How is Lisa’s teaching different from yours?
I can understand her philosophy about Ashtanga, which is the same for me. I like it, because she teaches calmly. She feels very settled in my classes. Her style is traditional, not allowing people to skip what they don’t like and adjusting so frequently is hard. She has lots of experience teaching Mysore class and we can learn a lot. We are open to teachers coming in as long as it’s traditional.

How do you (Lisa) teach Mysore-style to someone who does not speak the same language? It must challenging dealing with injuries, “problem students” who push too much, new postures, etc.
That could be a whole article in and of itself. I don’t speak in American classes much, so language is not much of a problem. Japanese students are very tolerant. They never say “it hurts” as if they trying to keep feeling in. They can be not very honest in that sense. Sometimes maybe they should tell the teacher, “your adjustment is too hard”. Japanese students are too modest, so they hesitate to say “it’s not good”. Knowing this, I’ve been adjusting very gently, working with their own breath, not pushing them. I can tell if there is pain by looking at the student and how they are practicing. Sometimes I need a translator, but some teachers have decent English, so they can help with that. So far it has not been much of an issue. Pushing too hard, there are a couple, but they refused to listen long before I came into the scene.

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Flyer for Lisa’s Workshop “adjasutomento no shingi” The Art of Adjustment

Are there any written materials or websites about Ashtanga practice and technique?
Yoga Mala, John Scott, Ashtanga Yoga for Women, yoga sutras websites in Japanese – there aren’t any websites for Ashtanga in Japanese. Except for Mindy’s blog, which gives them knowledge from some of the scene in Chicago.

What is the “workshop scene” like in Tokyo (or Japan)?
Very good. We have many good teachers who visit. Rolf Naujokat, David Swenson, John Scott, David Roche, Danny Paradise, Nancy Gilgoff, Govinda Kai, Mark Darby, Sharath, Petri Raisanen, Anthony Carlisi, Shankra Darby, Natalia Paison, Louisa Sears.

What are the differences you noticed between Ashtanga in Japan and the teachers who come from other parts of the world?
No difference. They just teach traditional Ashtanga system. We can learn lots of things from experienced teachers. We enjoy studying with the teachers. It’s very good to be taught by someone experienced. Sharing their experience is very good, but we are always looking for “our” Ashtanga.

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Fun community: examples from a t-shirt competition