After practicing yoga for over thirty years down in the big smoke we felt called to move back into nature into an environment ideal to go deeper into the higher limbs of yoga practice. The Vedas suggest that when one comes to the middle of ones life (around 50) to change ones mode of life and spend more time on spiritual practice in nature. This mode of life is called vanaprashtha (forest dweller). This same mode of life is suggested in many yogic texts. We took that quite literally and live now on a mountaintop surrounded by ancient rainforest. Living in nature inspires our practice greatly, which we can then share when we come back into the cities to teach workshops or retreats.

This blog will give you updates of what we are currently working on and it will give us the opportunity to stay in contact with the many people and students we have worked with throughout the last few decades. Of course if you want to post any questions, your mountaintop yogis will do their best to answer them. To sign up for our newsletter please go to http://www.8limbs.com/contact-us/

Ashtanga Yoga Stories from Norman Blair

Following on from Matthew’s article here Norman Blair’s article that explores a few more of today’s Ashtanga culture’s dark sides. Norman attended my event in London and we had a cuppa afterwards. He is a sincere person. I don’t share his love for Yin Yoga but a lot of what he writes about power dynamics, allegiance, rigidity, hierarchy, forceful adjustments, etc., is really important to look into.

Yoga’s Culture of Sexual Abuse by Matthew Remski

Last night I had an hour-long phone conversation with the Canadian yoga researcher Matthew Remski about his inquiry into alleged sexual abuse conducted by the late K Pattabhi Jois. I found Matthew to be a very caring and genuine person and I am sharing here his article on the subject.

The Five States of the Afflictions

The forms of suffering, or afflictions (kleshas), according to Patanjali, are ignorance, egotism, desire, aversion and fear of death. In stanza II.4 he points out that forms of suffering do not just occur in the fully active form but also in the so-called dormant, thinned and interrupted states when they are subliminal and we are often not conscious of being in their grip. When I was young I always believed that I was not afraid of death. Then one day I was in a life-threatening situation and this incredible fear of annihilation, completely unbeknownst to me, surfaced. It was only when this fear had become conscious that I was ready to do something about it.

Mayurasana (peacock posture)

Yoga asana is often erroneously thought of as dealing only with flexibility. In fact increasing ones level of flexibility is only then functional if this increase is matched by a similar increase of your strength. Ideal for increasing strength is the practise of arm balances. Today we will look at your Mayurasana (peacock posture). Since this posture has rather complex sequential movements I left in this description the traditional vinyasa count that is featured in my text Ashtanga Yoga The Intermediate Series.

Uniting Opposites in Asana

More on what posture was designed to be. A few weeks back I posted my commentary to Patanjali’s sutras II.46 and II.47, showing how far removed modern yoga has become from it’s original concept. Here now sutra II.48, which deepens the inquiry:

On Civilization in Crisis and What Yoga Could Do

Yoga has a solution to offer for our civilization in crisis by leading individuals and ultimately our civilization back to self-love, self-respect and from that to respect and love for other individuals, other life-forms and the super-organism, the biosphere. However, by reducing yoga to asana this remedy has been rendered impotent.

A Brief Overview of the Eight Limbs

When BKS Iyengar was once asked what he thought of Ashtanga Yoga he said, “There is only Ashtanga Yoga”. What he meant was that yoga that is not eight-limbed is not truly yoga. In this short video Gregor is explaining what is missing in a lot of modern yoga.

Only if posture becomes effortless can it support higher yoga.

Here is more evidence that the current Yoga-is-gymnastics-with-a-meditative-twist fad does not really stack up to what yoga truly is. In this stanza Patanjali defines the relationship between posture and the higher limbs. Included are many explanatory quotations from other scriptural sources and authorities.

II.47 Posture is then when effort ceases and meditation on infinity occurs.

What is Yoga Asana?

With yoga in they eyes of many modern practitioners reduced to posture (asana) a timely revisit to what Patanjali, the ancient codifier of yoga, said about the third limb. Here is the first part Patanjali’s definition, which he gives in sutra II.46.

What is the Most Important Part of Yoga?

I recently received a lot of inquiries for technical support in regards to intricacies of asana, pranayama and meditation practice. How to do it right, what needs to be changed in times of trouble? How to react to setbacks, injuries and how to fit it all in with an increasingly demanding life, time constraints, job difficulties, health-, mental health-, family-, and financial issues.