“Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series with R Sharath was created with the intention of showing an actual Yoga Practice, not a staged or edited event. When Sharath and I originally discussed the concept of an Ashtanga Yoga Video our intention was to convey the essence of Pattabhi Jois’s Ashtanga Yoga, continuous movement and the breath driving a â€˜no-nonsense’ practice. We wanted to show the strengths of the practice rather than the individual.
Ashtanga Yoga primary series with R. Sharath is a continuously filmed, three camera, practice DVD. Mary Wigmore and Caroline Laskow (Set Direction), and Ku-Ling (Cinematography), all of whom also made Ashtanga NY (see the AshtangaNews review), did an incredible job with camera setup and lighting. I love the colors, rich and beautiful. I brought along my Sony 900 Series for the side sequences and a Canon for the stills. You can see all three cameras in the three scene sequences. I edited the video and created the DVD menu in Mysore with graphic art assistance from Saskia Vidler. Saisha (my partner) and I rented a top floor, four story, light-filled condo in Gokulam. There are a few extra shots, like an overhead and a few close ups, to flesh out the content. I also designed the DVD menu so you can view each asana individually. This DVD took four years of effort. Sharath was patient through it all.
Sharath could have easily done handstands throughout this DVD. He also has an extremely flexible lower back (great backbends). Yet he chose to simply, elegantly, and honestly do the Primary Series. It is a refreshing video that truly represents the practice of Pattabhi Jois’s Ashtanga Yoga. Here there is no ‘glorification’ based on an individual’s physical strengths.
Yoga videos are often formulaic, outside sets like a travel video, Yogis showing their best â€œtakeâ€ at each Asana, makeup, often times a coach standing nearby correcting out of camera, on set. That is one style, yet it deviates from Ashtanga Yoga’s most important strengths. Breaking down Ashtanga, detailing it, takes away from the continuity of movement that is Ashtanga. Pattabhi Jois doesn’t talk much in his practice room in Mysore. Ashtanga is not talking, it is doing!
Sharath insisted on a minimum of edits throughout the editing processâ€¦”
Copyright 2006 by R. Sharath and Dominic Corigliano