Monday, May 18, 2009

Ashtanga Yoga videos: leaked!!

So, there are large, clear signs all around the shala in Mysore stating "no videos or photos." Outside? Sure. With the coconut man? Absolutely. With Sharath after Sunday student conference? No problem. But definitely, absolutely NOT during class.

Thankfully, even the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute (it's now called the KP Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute) operates on the "it's not WHAT you know but WHO you know" principle, and Govinda Kai, a long-time Ashtangi, has posted some extremely recent and extremely authentic videos from a led class inside the shala.

This is a led class from March of 2009, probably a Sunday morning since it's Intermediate Series. It's bits and pieces of what's likely about a 2 hour class. These clips are arranged in the order in which the postures occur in the practice. A few things to look for:

- It's clearly before dawn when the class starts, (dark windows and birdcalls) but by the last video it's full light, and you can hear the street sounds (horns and cars) and hollering from the vegetable vendors that walk through the streets pushing carts of produce to sell.

- The main instructor is, obviously, Sharath.

- The woman adjusting in the background of some videos is Saraswati, Sharath's mother. She is sort of assistant or co-instructor.

- You can see lots of other students crowded at the door to the lobby, watching. These are voyeur Primary Series students getting their yoga jollies by watching the Intermediate students. It's the Cool Kids and the Dorks, all over again. Of course, every Primary Series student in Mysore wants SO BADLY to be "moved on" to Intermediate Series (which happens ONLY by invitation from Sharath).

- Notice that there are a few students doing their own thing at the back of the room. Typically, students learn a series a little bit at a time. So, these are students who have learned some of the Intermediate Series and do that much with the rest of the class, but then drop out and do their own backbending and finishing postures (inversions, etc) once the class gets past what they know.

- hurry - not one person is moving ahead of the count (though collapse is not uncommon).

Because it's Intermediate Series, it's mostly different postures than Sunday's Led Primary class at tapas. Even so, for those who have been coming to Sundays for some time now, this is a great opportunity to see if you're getting an authentic experience:

Surya Namaskara B


Yoga Nidrasana

Karandavasana - pure torture: "Don't go chatvari, don't go chatvari!"

Supta Urdhva Vajrasana


Dropbacks - part of led class in the Intermediate Series, though not in Primary.

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