I am equally fascinated by his books, Ashtanga Yoga Maps and Musings and Ashtanga Journals.
David Garrigues is one of a few teachers in the US certified to teach Ashtanga Yoga by Yoga Master Sri K Pattabhi Jois. David’s mission is to be part of an ever wider circle of people who are dedicated to exploring the living, contemporary, lineage of Ashtanga Yoga.
David teaches workshops, mysore intensives and in-depth studies around the world, including a mysore and pranayama intensive in Kovalam, India during the month of February. APP: It was recently the anniversary of Pattabhi Jois’s passing, can you please share a fond memory or story with us?
During the discussion there was an interval of cross talk and commotion, and during this time Guruji looked at me, and for a moment it was as if it was only he and I in the room. To me he was not saying that the practice is to be done in haste, unthinkingly fast, or in any sort of hurried fashion.
The distinctly static approach of the Iyengar yoga system stands in sharp contrast to the dynamism of the Ashtanga system. Calibration can be defined as “a comparison between measurements”, and this means that you use the asana allies or maps (the foundational asana vidya principles) to measure the quality of your efforts, you internally assess the degree of success that you have in finding a grounded, middle position that ‘lights up’ your central axis.
The two systems, static (Iyengar) versus dynamic (Ashtanga), represent the difference between learning through conscious, moment to moment self correction (static) and learning through a kind of supra sensory, intuitive approach that relies on unconscious obedience to inner calibration (dynamic). For example when you are going up into Sirsasana (Head Balance), you go from position 7 (the set up) to position 8 (the state of the asana) with a single, confident move. The dynamic method requires patience and practice, because it takes time for you to develop the requisite coordination between your senses, brain, and muscles to effect an aesthetic and functional movement that brings you into an accurate, well founded position.
DG: The Asana Kitchen is my online YouTube channel where I take a specific posture and then break it down.


And so the AK was developed as a way to teach the asana so that both an 18, 55, and 85 year old could utilize the videos. Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga for over a decade and a half and is an avid student of the Sutras. He wants to join with enthusiastic people who are open and committed to learning and applying the teachings in ways that promote physical, psychological, and spiritual growth in themselves and others.
And then within those techniques you have another set of maps the Ashtanga Yoga ones that Sri K Pattabhis Jois talks about in Yoga Mala, vinyasa, dristi, dhyana, breath, and bandhas. He let me know that the method was to be done swiftly, that tempo, rhythm, and dynamism were essential to learning the practice properly. Instead he was saying that the proper method is done by practicing dynamically, by moving into and out of the asanas in complete gestures born of free breathing, animal surety, confidence and energetic enthusiasm. The Sutras open up a whole new world, a whole new set of maps, for the student to gain insight and understanding into, “Who am I? The two systems could be said to exist on opposites ends of the pole of static vs dynamic learning models. And then you store your findings in your memory and in your body and endeavor to achieve more accuracy the next time you do the asana. This is part of the reason for Ashtanga’s strict guidelines that call for unfailing consistency— your learning according to this particular learning model depends upon repetition and practice. For example, my videos on the JUMP BACK make sure to include exercises that cover a variety of different ability.
Both books are written in a way that makes me feel like I am getting to know him and it makes them feel very personal. And then within the Ashtanga Yoga maps you have more maps!  For example, vinyasa has earth, foundation, dynamism, etc.  So the books explore all these maps extensively.


The atmosphere was rather loose at that time, there was no official conference, no distinct timing or plan, no official teaching from him. With Iyengar yoga you go into your posture slowly enough to perform ‘error correction’ on the way into your posture. Instead get ready, anticipate and then let fly a confident move, come into your posture as a total, uninterrupted act. Without too many words he let me know that he was trusting me to understand what he was telling me and that I was somehow responsible for remembering and sharing this aspect of the practice.
This means you can analyze and survey your position and thus correct errors before finally committing to a position. They are the sorta books that you can just pick a random page in the morning and something will jump off the page that you needed to hear. Sometimes questions about the practice would be introduced and if Guruji was in the right frame of mind, he’d answer. With ashtanga yoga, as a general rule, there is no time for ‘error correction’ on the way into your asana. And afterwards use your thinking mind combined with your kinesthetic acuity to swiftly take in information about the quality and physical orientation of the position that you achieved.
So the topic whether some people were teaching the method correctly or not came up, something that had to do with the speed of the practice. The assessment and correction process happens after you execute and complete your movement into the position.



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