alan little’s weblog

but what is it for?

31st July 2006 permanent link

So what is advanced yoga asana practice for anyway? Possibly quite a few different things, which I’ll try to address one by one starting with this one:

for demonstrations?

A saying I‘ve seen attributed to various senior Indian ashtanga yoga teachers: “Primary series: very important. Intermediate series: fairly important. Advanced series: for demonstrations”

I also read somewhere, I think in Elizabeth Kadetsky’s book, that BKS Iyengar had that film made in 1938 as a marketing exercise when he was already planning to leave Mysore and set up his own yoga school in Pune.

In other words, demonstrating fancy-looking advanced asanas in public is at least partly grandstanding; but it’s supposed to be grandstanding in a good cause.

That seems to be precisely one of the concerns that the critics of the Ana Forrest demo have: advanced asana demonstrations will attract people, but they will be the wrong sort of people. They are mistaken. It doesn’t matter why people decide to try yoga. The vast majority won’t stick with it in any case, and the minority that stay, stay because they have discovered what it’s really about. I started going to yoga classes to keep fit, learn to do cool-looking things, and hang out with beautiful women – and I’m not the wrong sort of person.

Part One of a sporadic series. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four.

related entries: Yoga

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