Category Archives: Yoga in General

Yoga in General…yoga schools other than Ashtanga

Number of Ashtanga Teachers Nearly Doubles in 4 Years

It’s been awhile since we shared our geeky fascination with numbers with you. See Yoga Trends on Google and Ashtanga Grows 100% in 4 Years (at least) for examples. In that post, we estimated that the Ashtanga yoga student population had grown by 100% since early 2002.

Here we take a close look at the trend in Ashtanga yoga teachers during the past four years. It looks like the number of Ashtanga yoga teachers, authorized or certified by the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute grew by 179% from February 2002 to December 2006 (which means that we underestimated student growth earlier).

Not only that, but it also seems that the rate of teacher authorizations is increasing.


Number of teachers authorized or certified by AYRI
Do you detect a trend?

This data comes from’s monthly newsletters which publishes new teachers’ names every month – we looked at all the newsletters from March 2002 until December 2006.

The total number of authorized Ashtanga teachers was 176 (including 34 certified teachers) as of December 29, 2006. Since early 2002, a total of 113 new teacher authorizations have been announced on


The world of Ashtanga Yoga


A lot of the “travelling teachers” moved to Asia.

Japan had an especially impressive growth in Ashtanga teachers with 5 teachers authorized since early 2002, compared to one 4 years earlier. Ashtangis in Japan definitely seem enthusiastic about Ashtanga as evidenced by some of our recent posts:

The 2 countries with the most new teachers are the United States with 62 (40 newly authorized) and the United Kingdom with 18 (12 newly authorized).


Matthew & Dominic Corigliano in Toronto, Canada
(We can’t have only graphs in this post. Boring!)

Women and men teachers are equally represented. As of December 2006, 53% of teachers were women, and since early 2002, 63% of newly authorized teachers were women. But wait! Only 10% of female teachers are certified, while 29% of the men are., by the way, gives the best explanation of the meanings of authorized and certified.

We had to make some assumptions to come up with these fascinating tidbits (especially those in the next graph). If you want the gory details about the assumptions, email me at yogini @


Growth in teachers by region…
complicated by changes to the definition of “travelling” teacher

And finally, thanks to for continually keeping everyone up to date on Ashtanga yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and without which, neither of our geeky numbers posts would have been possible. Also, all the teachers listed on are authorized to teach Ashtanga yoga by AYRI.

On the similarity of English and Sanskrit as viewed through Ashtanga


Ancient Scriptures at the Academy
of Sanskrit Research, Melkote by Dr Vivek M

I’ve always been fascinated by languages, and while listening to an excellent book-on-tape on the History of the English Language, I discovered that modern English and Sanskrit both stem from a common language: Proto-Indo-European (PIE). It is believed to have been spoken in Central Asia six to nine thousand years ago.

PIE is the common root for Ancient Greek, Latin and Sanskrit. Later on, English aquired many words from both Latin and Greek, so there are many words in common between English and Sanskrit.

When we learn the Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga system, we are strongly encouraged to learn the Sanskrit name of all the postures, and to learn the beginning and ending chants. That’s already a vocabulary of more than a hundred words, so by learning Ashtanga, we are also beginning to learn Sanskrit.

Some of these Sanskrit words, as used in Ashtanga, still have recognizable traces in English and other European languages.

Let’s start with the numbering system as called out in a led class (Sanskrit in bold, English meaning in parenthesis):

Dve (two): the “w” in two is the “v” in dve. In Dutch, a friend told me the pronunciation of two is almost the same as dve.

Trini (three): this one is obvious.


3-D Bamboo Mandala, Burning Man 2006

Panca (five): Panca and the Greek pente have the same root, hence pentagon.

Sapta (seven): that’s where the “p” in the Fench sept comes from, and in heptagon.

Ashto (eight): the same ashto as in Ashtanga, in English “sh” became “gh”.

Nava (nine): the ending “v” sound still exists in French as an “f” in neuf (“nine” in English).

Dasa (ten): French again, dix, and in English the root of decade, decathlon.

Samasthitih (equal standing pose): the meaning of “sama” still exists in the English word same.

Padahastasana (foot hand pose): the Greek podi and French pied for foot still exists as podiatrist. Hasta is very similar to hand but I don’t know if it’s related.



Trikonasana (triangle pose): Tri is three as mentioned above, kona means angle or corner, which is pronounced almost the same.

Prasarita Padottanasana (spread out intense foot strech): the last part of this name is a shortened version of uttana, meaning intense stretch.


Prasarita Padottanasana
from namaste yoga

A few years ago I attended a workshop with Bhavani Maki where she pointed out uttana still exists in English as attenuate, to thin out. A lot of other postures have uttana in their name, and it is a consistent principle behind the Ashtanga practice. Bhavani is very interested in language by the way, and I highly recommend her workshops.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (half lotus bound standing forward bend): baddha and bound have the same root.


Virabhadrasana at an Ashtanga workshop in Brazil
with Matthew Vollmer

Virabhadrasana (hero pose): Virabhadra was a super being created by the god Shiva, and vira means hero. I don’t know if there is an official connection, but vira and hero sound very close.

Tiriangmukhaikapada Paschimottanasana (one leg folded back): tiriang means and sounds like transverse.

Janu Sirsana (head of the knee): Janu, as knee, still exists in French as genou, and in English as the root of genuflect, to bend the knee or touch one knee to the floor or ground, as in worship.


Marichyasana in Brazil

Marichyasana (posture of Marichy): Marichy is a sage, son of Brahma and patron saint of all Mexican Mariachi bands (only kidding!).

Navasana (boat pose): Nava means boat, which still exists in the French navire and as the root of naval and navy.

Kukkutasana (rooster posture): could kukku be related to the French cocorico, the equivalent of cock-a-doodle-doo?


Om in Bloomington, Indiana
from a ideolector’s Street Art set on Flickr

Ubhaya Padangusthasana (both big toes): Ubhaya means of both, and to me these sound very similar.

I’ll leave you with one last one, Amen, sorry, I mean Om.