Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Ashtanga Certification: Includes a list of Certified Ashtanga teachers* - Manju in Athens 2015 and a new Ashtanga Parampara interview

"Eligo in Summum Pontificem"
College of cardinals playset. Think one of our Ashtanga artists should make one for all the certified teachers- see LINK

I received notification early this morning of a new Interview on Lu Duong's excellent Ashtanga Parampara interview platform, this time the interview is with Harmony Lichty

LINK
UPDATE: The first seven interviews have now been turned into a magazine, free to read online and download as pdf but also available as a print edition.


LINK
The notification, as does the interview, come with an editors note mentioning that Harmony, along with Magnolia Zuniga ( also interviewed on Lu's site) have been Certified.

*Editorial Note: At the completion of this interview on March 7, 2015, Harmony (along with Magnolia Zuniga), was blessed with the designation of "Certified" by KPJAYI. Both were formerly "Authorized: Level 2". 

I was going to add a note to the non-Ashtangi friends on my FB Share explaining what 'Certified' means in the Ashtanga context but wasn't exactly sure myself so decided to come over here to pick over it a little.

My first thought was that being Certified was something like becoming a Cardinal, a Prince of the Church.... but without the influence, as in you don't get to elect the new Pope/Director. Sharath of course wasn't elected, directorship of KPJAYI is hereditary it seems.

Conclave ( Electing a new Pope) Sistine chapel 

I know, I didn't get to vote for the Queen either, although there was talk once about the next King being elected. Charles would no doubt be overlooked in favour of the supposedly more Dashing Prince William. It would have been Tony Blair of course but he spoiled things for himself a little with Iraq.

Manju of course would have been the next Director after his father Pattabhi Jois had he not moved to the US and decided again and again against going back to take over.

Imagine if Manju had gone back, EVERYBODY would be practicing half at least of 2nd series followed by pranayama after their practice as well as chanting. The chanting of course would no doubt help keep the numbers down, eliminating that particular problem ( took me a long time before I came around to a little chanting after my practice).

*Note: I hear there's a chanting class at KPJAYI now, compulsory I believe but not perhaps as well as attended as it's supposed to be.

I suspect Sharath might have quite liked that scenario (Manju in charge), Sharath could have just got back on with the practice he loves and in peace without all the hassles of running such a large school.... perhaps that was Manju's thinking also.

Manju by the the way is offering his Greece Teacher Training in Athens this year rather than Rethymno, Crete. I'd love to go again but have barely bothered with my 2nd series all year, preferring instead to slow my Primary down ever more such that I have to split my Krishnamacharya Primary group asana practice over two, sometimes three days.... although every couple of days I'll remember to work on the 2nd series backbend sequence just to keep my hand in. I could brush it off of course but I'm also all the way over her in Japan (sigh), how I love Athens, Crete... Greece!

Manju will be teaching around Filopappos, bottom of the picture to the left a bit.

"Just to keep the hand in", that I seem to remember was Manju's expression when I asked him what he practiced these days, '....part of Primary, Part of Intermediate and a few Advanced postures just to keep my hand in',  or Something to that effect

LINK

I do kind of like the idea of all the Certified teachers having more influence on the direction of Ashtanga, on the election of future Directors ( personally I prefer an elected council or board rather than Director for life position and a nonprofit version of KPJAYI), I'm all for democracy me (deep down so Greek).... another reason to go to Greece, re encounter our Greek Heritage ( in the Philosophical, cultural sense) rather than running off to India to embrace Indian culture when we've barely attempted to understand fully our own. Of course there was crossfertilization,  how Indian is Greek Culture, how Greek Indian. Richard Freeman ( my vote for the next Ashtanga Pope of course) recommends an excellent book on his suggested reading page The Shape of Ancient Thought by Thomas McEvilley,


LINK

Do we have enough Certified Teachers to form a College of Cardinals, let me think, there's Tim..... and Tim........ and.......

I Jest

There's my own Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher Kristina Karitinou, Authorised by Pattabhi Jois and Certified by Manju (I should try and find out who else Manju has certified as they don't think they are listed as certified on the KPJAYI list).

Below are the Certified teacher on the KPJAYI list on going to press


KPJAYI List of Certified Teachers* (47)

Louise Ellis, Philippa Gabrielle Asher, Rolf Naujokat, Anthony Carlisi, Govinda Kai, Kranti, Tarik Thami, Dena Kingsberg, Mark Robberds, Eileen Hall, Iain Clark, David Roche, Karyn Grenfell, John Scott, Peter Sanson, Lucia Andrade, Pia Lehtinen, Maria Tsakona, Luke Jordan, Gabriele Severini, R.Alexander Medin, Tomas Zorzo, Hamish Hendry, Joanne Darby, Mark Darby, Andrew Hillam, Jörgen Christiansson, John Smith, Maia Heiss, Manju Jois, Noah Williams, Tim Miller, Annie Pace, Richard Freeman, Kino MacGregor, Chuck Miller, Melanie Fawer, Dominic Corigliano, Mary Jo Mulligan, Eddie Stern, GuyDonahaye, John Campbell, Sharmila Desai, Olaf Kalfas, David Garrigues plus now Magnolia Zuniga and Harmony Lichty.


* I had to lift those names out from among the authorised teachers, apologies if I missed somebody This is of course only the KPJAYI list, there may be others who are out of favour, authorised by Manju or have asked for their name to be removed. Always a problem with 'authorised lists'.

-Trying to work out another list based on Ashtanga.com and perhaps bring them together, check back later in the week.

Some obvious admissions for one reason or another that undermine it a little perhaps, sure I could come up with ten names off the top of my head who I would like to see included.

*

UPDATE: Here's an interesting list, those teachers Certified (35) as of Oct 2008 around a few months before Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Passed away.




UPDATE: If we have to have a list of those who have put in the time and been recognised then my preferred list is on Ashtanga.com which includes an interesting referral system.

LINK


And why not, here's a list of teachers indicated as Certified (31) on the Ashtanga.com list from the same month as the KPJAYI. A few less on this list, perhaps it hadn't been updated.

Currently Ashtanga.com doesn't indicate whether a teacher is certified, authorised or referred. Instead they go for a Senior teacher and referral system that I like much better (see the FAQ above). As my friend so aptly put it  on a comment to a post at Sereneflavour 

"Rank and yoga don’t mix"





.... but anyway, there you go, a Conclave right there.

So many teachers in that list I would love to take an extended workshop with. I'm not one for long periods in a shala, I  prefer exploring my Ashtanga vinyasa practice at home alone but a week or two, a month with somebody who has incorporated their practice into their lives, reflected on it intelligently over so many years, count me in. I'm not interested in how to get into a new asana but rather in how to approach my practice, how to continue to learn from it.

I've tended to see 'Certified 'as suggesting, Ambassadors of Ashtanga vinyasa, the great and the good if you like....and I see this group ( and those too who are for one reason or other not on or no longer on the official list ) as in some sense, the guardians of this *recent tradition of practice (in the sense of this approach to a generally fixed sequence). It lies not in one person (however inspiring to many he may be) or one place but in those who have inherited a practice, practiced and enquired into it selflessly (some more than others at different periods no doubt*) with dedication and belief for a significant period of their lives. Isn't that parampara honouring a teaching by enquirying every deeper into it.

*Nice thing about being Certified is that I understand you can't have it taken away so are free to explore, take it apart, put it back together, drift here, there and then and come back to a deeper understanding of your practice.

And there's a great responsibility there. I look at this list of teachers and I don't see dogma but long term practitioners ( those who I know a little about) who have explored their practice, incorporated it into their lives in their own distinctive ways and passed on this tool of enquiry, their own inimitable approach to it to others.

Personally I feel they should have more influence in preserving the integrity of the practice and ensuring it's future, if you're going to certify someone then I think that should also mean that you trust them to pass on the teaching, not only teaching practitioners but also training future teachers.

Congratulations then to Harmony and Magnolia and thank you for taking on the responsibility for the future of this practice that we all love, in our own way and in whatever form we chose to explore/practice it.

The College of Cardinals (seen here in 1922) was formed in 1061 to elect the pope
The above picture is from 1922, two years before Pattabhi Jois first met Krishnamacharya in Hassan and eighteen or so before Pattabhi Jois submitted his proposal for a four year yoga syllabus to the Sanskrit college ( Primary to Advanced B based on Krishnamacharya's three groups Primary, Middle, Advanced). 

The first College of Cardinals was formed in 1061


See also perhaps my earlier post

Consistency and compatibility: A response to criticisms of Ashtanga Vinyasa PLUS a 'lost' photo and Surynamaskara and pranayama in puja

and this one

Turning Ashtanga's KPJYI into KPJYF, a charitable foundation?

12 comments:

  1. Unix-like operating systems are very well suited to processing text.
    Using common Unix tools I easily extracted the certified teachers from KPJAYI listings and compared the results to your own listing.

    It turns out that you missed Mark Robberds from Sydney (and added Kristina Karitinou).

    As you mention some people (such as Lino Miele) asked to be removed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Enrique, have adjusted the list

      Delete
  2. Thanks for this. I also know a teacher who was "certified" by Guruji, and whose name is not on this list.. so I am guessing he asked to be removed......

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haha, I have always loved these meandering, pondering posts of yours, love the way you think things through, all the questions, plus the humor. Just saying hi, still here reading though I don't comment much. Also, I firmly believe that any Conclave members must wear funny hats. You aren't a dignitary if you don't have a funny hat. I have spoken.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it the best picture at the top of the blog, thought of you and the kids, click on the link under the picture and it takes you to a link where you can cut out and make your own conclave, stove included.

      I'm thinking Certified teachers should get a gold mat, you have to pay enough for it I hear.

      Day you stop visiting here Maya I hand in my keys

      Delete
  4. Yes, quite, Tony Blair is the perfect example of why it's great that we don't elect our Head of State. I'm sure Margaret Thatcher would have aspired to the position too. So it's just as well that the post was conveniently filled, thank you very much. It's not that I think that an hereditary monarch is necessarily the best solution but looking around the world I'd say that it beats most of the other methods. Of course it's grossly unfair on the poor sod who by luck of being born at a certain moment gets the job. I feel for Sharath sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree except that perhaps Boris would make perfect next king and fill a pointless role with great buffoonery. Yes, I'm sympathetic of Sharath too, never easy to take over the family business but there in lies the problem for me, as he has said many times "nobody owns Yoga", there needs to be a separation perhaps of Mysore shala and Ashtanga as an organisation that hands out authorisation. But as long as we have Ashtanga.com perhaps all is well. I just have issues with authority, perhaps it show occasionally

      Delete
  5. I am a bit mystified by the omissions from the current list. It seems a lot of the expected names and indeed many of my own teachers are not there now. For example, Gregor Maehle and Monica Gauci, who were certainly on the list in 2013 before I went to train with them. Where are David Williams, Danny Paradise and Kristina Karitinou. After finding out about the new rules for admissions to Sharath's classes I arranged to practice with Kristina next year. Now it would appear that that time won't count towards my first Mysore visit the following year, and neither does my time with Monica and Gregor. None of the teachers I've been with for the last seven years will count if I intend to practice with Sharath.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Certified by Manju is Annemiek van der Zouwen in Middelburg the Netherlands. Manju is returning there for ws and TT each year. Next year for Intermediate . The AYA Ashtanga Yoga Academy is certified by Manju. We als have a short intermediate introduction module where we try to make all postures applyeble for students and teachers. Manju was so nice to show all the adjustments with a photographer and let us use them for our manual!

    ReplyDelete
  7. For someone who has never been to the KPJAYI or met Sharath (apart from at a Workshop in London which doesn't really count...) you sure as heck seem to have a lot of opinions about both. But you know what they say about opinions!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dough. I've just re read my post and I can't see any 'opinions' about Mysore, which are you referring to,did I miss something?
      As it happens I've never beento Sharath's workshops, I'm a home practitioner and rarely visit a shala so never saw the point of a forking out large amounts of money and giving up my own practice for a led class. I did practice with Sharath's dvd for three months or so, eight years or so ago, I find it too fast these days,I respect what he does inMysore but have no interest in going. I tend to prefer a week with Manju, more of a Workshop than a led but more tha. That I prefer to practice my yoga alone.

      Delete

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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