Articles

Understanding Pelvic Tilt

The pelvis has three primary skeletal components: the right hip, the left hip, and the sacrum. While these pieces can move independently, they often work together as a unit, and the each piece exerts an influence on the pelvis as a whole. They will be discussed collectively in this article. Pelvic tilt involves a simultaneous movement of both hips, the sacrum, and the lumbar vertebrae. (Read more…)

Ashtanga Yoga has the interesting and unique tradition of abstaining from practice on the days of the full and new moon, called “moon days.”

I recently received a question regarding the timing of moon days, which got me thinking. (What follows is simply my conjecture & curiosity, I am not an expert.)

Q: If a full or new moon occurs before sunrise, should it be observed on the previous day?

For example, if the new moon is at 4:29am on Wednesday, should the Ashtangi take off practice on Tuesday?

(read more…)

Ashtanga Vinyasa is a system based upon Krishnamacharya’s teaching of Vinyasa Krama Yoga. Vinyasa Krama means a “carefully ordered sequence.” Krishnamacharya taught asanas, yoga positions, in groups with specific methods of entering and exiting them. During practice, each breath and movement is choreographed to maximum effect.  Pattabhi Jois, one of Krishnamacharya’s senior students, was a Sanskrit scholar and accomplished Yoga practitioner. He taught Yoga for therapeutic benefit in Mysore. Over time, and especially as more and more westerners came to take practice, the sequences be … (read more…)

mantra text

Everywhere in the world, Ashtanga yoga practice begins with this mantra. To a long-time practitioner, it becomes a familiar friend and a welcoming presence, a signal to release the body and mind into the present moment. Mantra is not a blind devotion or guru-worship or religious indoctrination. It is a tool that we use to focus our minds.

This transliteration is written phonetically for ease of learning. It is broken up by syllable for easy pronunciation. The IAST transliteration, along with the Sanskrit and full translation, is below.

Om
vande gurunam charanara vinde

san … (read more…)

“I’m sorry,” she said, “I’m really out of shape.”

I said something soothing in response. That wasn’t the first time that class she had said something of the sort. It wasn’t until later that I found the words I really wanted: “Why are you apologizing to me? I’m here to serve you, no matter if you’re athletic or stiff or crippled fro … (read more…)

bandha featured

One of the concepts very central to Ashtanga-Vinyasa practice is the Bandha*. It’s a word with a connotation of bridging, fastening, binding, connecting, or locking. There are three Bandha discussed in historical texts and modern practices: Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, and Jalandhara Bandha.

Much allure surrounds the Bandha, though they tend to be poorly understood and under-explained. This is my experience of the Bandha, an account of a living practice rather than a technical or philosophical perspective. The Bandha are not something to be understood solely by reading Hatha Yoga … (read more…)