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Saturday, 31 August 2013

New Manju Pattabhi Jois Resource Page to sit at the top of the Blog

This is just a post to Introduce a new Stand- Alone Page at the top of the blog devoted to all things Manju.


A stand alone page with all things related to Manju Pattabhi Jois.

This is a work in progress, for now I've just collected some earlier posts with interviews, videos, reviews etc. More material and links to come.

Reviews of My Teacher training  Course in Rethymno Crete with Manju. August 2013

Manju Jois TT Part 1 0f 4 : Photo preview: Manju's Workshop in Rethymno, Crete

Manju Jois TT Part 2 of 4 : Ashtanga Adjustments ?

Manju Jois TT Part 3 of 4 : Practice

Transcriptions and notes of  Crete Q and A sessions

Manju TT Crete Part 4A of 4 : Q and A - Development of the Ashtanga series etc.

Manju Jois TT course Part 4B of 4 : Questions and Answers - Rishi series? When to practice? Why 'females' shouldn't do Advanced series? When did SKPJ write Yoga Mala etc.

Manju Jois TT course Part 4C of 4 : Questions and Answers - Friday, final Q and A day. Woman and Ashtanga, Advanced series? Watching his father practice etc...

Earlier posts

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Friday, 5 July 2013
This is just a post to launch a new stand-alone page sitting at the top of the blog that I've called Ashtanga History

Friday, 10 May 2013
Going to Manju Jois' TT in Rethymno, Crete August 2013 includes interviews and training videos(see below)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Interviews with Manju - From his website

Manju Jois interviews and Teacher Training videos

I came across a nice interview with Manju Jois last night on the Aspiring Yogi blog.
I particularly liked these questions

KPJ: Describe your usual yoga practice/routine?
MJ: I practice yoga in the morning every day except Saturday. My routine is to get up at 4am, have a shower and practice for 1 hour, picking a few postures from the primary and intermediate series, then four or five postures from the advanced series. The asana practice is followed by chanting for ½ an hour.

KPJ: You have been teaching for 47 years. What changes have you noticed over that time, either in your own approach to teaching, or more generally in terms of Ashtanga yoga?
MJ: I teach in the traditional style that I learnt from my father. My aim is to keep the teaching pure and simple. Unfortunately the teaching is often not the same as when I learnt. I don’t know if it is because of a shortage of time, or they don’t know the traditional style or don’t want to teach it.

KPJ: What do you think is the most common mistake that people make when practicing yoga?
MJ: The biggest mistake that students make is overdoing their practice and not knowing when to stop. Yoga is supposed to be relaxing!  It is better to do fewer asanas perfectly with correct breathing, rather than lots of poses if you have forgotten about the breath and bandhas. Keep up your practice everyday. You don’t have to do 100 postures. Listen to your body, stop when it tells you it is stretched enough. People get hurt when they continue.

KPJ: In led classes, we hold each pose for five breaths. Is it appropriate to hold the pose for longer, especially if you have one side stiffer than another?
MJ: In Mysore style practice you can take as many breaths as you want. In fact, usually the body reacts after the fifth breath, so you need to stay longer to get the complete benefit. The Yoga Sutras say Sthira sukham asanam – meaning asana is a meditation and you have to stay in poses and breathe properly.

A couple of  Videos from Youtube of Manju's Teacher training workshop

While on the topic of Manju, here's the excellent video from Warsaw that I posed last year, Hooked on Yoga

here's the link to where the video was posted
and a link to manju's own website

NB: VIDEO PAGE TO COME once I've trawled YouTube.


Manju's teaching of  Pranayama

Transcription of this to come ( does anyone have notes on Manju's approach to Bhastika pranayama ( he didn't get around to it on the course, notes, videos etc. welcome)

Transcription to come of the video below.

My review of Manju's Book, DVD, CD

Manju Jois Bundle, DVD, Training manual and chanting CD - first look

The Manju Jois 'Bundle' arrived from Ashtanga.Com.

Took Six days from confirmation of order to delivery, USA to UK. Only regular first class post too, not express or anything special.

I've been thinking very seriously about taking Manju's workshop this year, thought I'd take a look at his kit. Only thing is, I'm so into my practice as it is at the moment with it's slow, slow breathing that I don't really have much inclination to do a straight Ashtanga anymore.

At least I didn't......

So very quick first thoughts, another fuller review to come.

BOOK - Ashtanga Yoga Training Manual Manju Jois and Greg Tebb ( this is was designed with Manju's TT's, Intensives and workshops in mind.

A little disappointed in the quality, bit cheaply produced it has to be said, although I like the layout (mostly, at times things get a little bunched up). Good to have a ring binder although it's not as strong as the one on David Swenson's book, get the feeling it would be falling apart towards the end of a workshop.

I was hoping for something a little special, a little different ( not sure what I was hoping for exactly) but it's just the pose and the instructions/count etc. which seems pretty standard. I mentioned I like the layout, pretty much a posture a page with a space for notes. I'm going to scan mine and then paste in Krishnamacharya's instructions for the same postures for comparison, should be interesting.

The nice touch is the quotes from Hathayogapradipka, Geranda Samhita, Yoga Rahasya etc.

One interesting thing to pick out, in the majority of postures we find, as in the page above for Janu Sirsasana

"Dasha diirgha rechaka puuraka" - 10 long inhalations and exhalations.

DVD - Ashtanga Yoga Workshop (*90 minutes)
*2 min for opening chant and 15 minutes in padmasana chanting rather than Savasana at the end of the practice so about 75 minutes for the actual primary series

This was a nice surprise. It has Manju Leading a class with the chant but get this, everybody repeats every word of the count including the names of all the postures, great way to learn and practice the count.

I'd heard Manju did this on his workshops, really looking forward to practicing along with it.

I mentioned that in the book we find...

"Dasha diirgha rechaka puuraka" - 10 long inhalations and exhalations.

I checked the video to see how long we get for those ten, long, inhalations and exhalations, about 25-30 seconds, give or take a second or two. Interestingly, Manju doesn't count the breaths ( leaving that up to you) I liked that, it means I can get three longish, half decent breaths in but somebody else might choose, five shorter ones...or ten pants.

Here are some comparisons to put it in perspective, all for when in Janu Sirsasana at dwe ( this is hardly fair though as the time varies slightly in the different postures, especially in the led classes of Manju and his father ( it's guess work in Led), for example Manju left them in the preceding posture for 30 seconds), the demo's are a different case. gives an idea though of the general pace of the practice.

David Robson - 40 seconds!
Richard Freeman - 29 seconds
Manju Jois - 25 seconds
Lino - 24 seconds
John Scott - 20 seconds
Kino - 20 seconds
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois - 20 seconds
David Swenson - 19 seconds
Sharath - 13 seconds

What me?
Grimmly - 90 seconds, but that's really only because of the 10 long inhalations and exhalations.

So the stay in the actual posture is generous but overall it's taken pretty fast and you have to go some to keep up, 75 minutes isn't long, the last fifteen minutes of the DVD's 90 Minute run time is taken up with chanting.

UPDATE: A comment came in from Sereaux on Dave Robson's Drum Beat Primary

"I've been practicing periodically to David Robson’s mp3 Ashtanga Yoga’s Primary Series to the Steady Beat of a Drum. It goes to a 4 second inhale and a 4 second exhale – so 5 breaths equates out to 40 seconds. Not quite 90, but nearly double the others. It has helped to keep me to recognize when and where I’m rushing – also helped me stay focused on the breath. I always tend to rush the inhale. All Sanskrit counting. Whole practice takes 109 minutes with opening chant, 3 Sury A, 3 Sury B, and only two paschimottanasana variations.

Chant CD - Shanti mantras

Consists of the opening and closing chant and then the Shanti mantras, at slow and regular speed. Nice and clear, I could practice with these although I prefer Ramaswami's traditional way of teaching chants.

There's also a pdf with the chants and translations.

Was a little underwhelmed when I first opened the box but am getting quite excited now to getting stuck in and even more tempted by the thought of a his workshop.

UPDATE 7/5/2013
Coming back to this post three months later.

I mentioned in the post that I was quite wrapped up with my 'slow Ashtanga' practice based on Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda at the time the Manju bundle arrived. Recently I've shifted back to a pretty standard Ashtanga practice in the mornings ( VK and pranayama practice in the evening slot) and that has a lot to with Manju's DVD. I like that Manju doesn't count through the actual asana on the DVD, this means I can get in three long slow breaths while in the posture, this works quite well. I can get through the whole series without sacrificing (my approach to) the breath too much. I've been practicing along with the DVD on my days off, Sanskrit count getting inside my head, enjoying it. Rest of the week I take it a little slower still but not by much, add in a few extra VK postures, alonger stay or two ( kind of weaving the Vinyasa krama and Yoga Makaranda influences into my ashtanga practice) but not too many to upset the balance. Wish Manju did a led 2nd Cd or DVD as I've moved back to 2nd series in the mornings.

I like it so much now, as well as the TT videos in the post above, (and I've always felt drawn to Manju's approach to the practice in general, as suggested by interviews and workshop reports) that I'm finalising the logistics for attending Manju's week long TT in Crete, in August this year (finally a workshop in our quiet time at work). Excited.


Manju's website

Link to Kristina Karitinou website 

Links to the extended Ashtanga yoga Greece family 

Friday, 30 August 2013

NEW: Manju Jois TT course Part 4C of 4 : Questions and Answers - Friday, final Q and A day. Woman and Ashtanga, Advanced series? Watching his father practice etc...

More transcriptions from Manju's TT In Crete last week. This transcription is from the final Q and A session, just last Friday in fact (Has it really only been a week?)

Below: Manju on Advanced series

See the earlier posts (links at bottom of post) for the sketchy notes from Monday the full transcription from Tuesday, sketchy notes from Wednesday and full transcription from Thursday.

I've decided to include a video again from an EARLIER workshop. Listening to the recordings of our workshop in Crete while transcribing I have Manju's voice, his relaxed manner so clear in my head. Hopefully if you watch this video before reading the transcript you'll hear Manju's voice more clearly yourselves as you read the following transcription.

MJ: is Manju Jois, 
Me: is Myself
Q: are questions from others on the course

MJ: Any Questions?

Q: If you are sick is it OK to practice?

MJ: It depends on what kind of sick you have. If you have a headache you can still do it, if you have a stomachache, (it's OK)..

Q: And a fever?

MJ: High fever NO. If you have a stomach problem you still do it. Any other kind of fever... or cold, just take it easy. If you have cold don't practice, the mucus is coming out, let it come out, don't practice. Because they are all natural things. If your body produces more mucus it automatically discharges it. So people should not take any medication to stop it. And high fever, it is the pita, the body gets overheated and the body starts sweating so you don't overheat it by practicng.

Q: And pregnant women? They can do after the third semester?

MJ: After three months, yeah. And after they have the baby they can take a break for a month, then jump on the waggon.

Q: What about women having their period, what is it they can do and cannot do?

MJ: We don't advise them to practice yoga then, take the period off. Because this menstrual cycle you go through, if you mess with that then in the future they will have problems. So that's why you have to take it easy. Be like an Indian women, they don't do anything for three days. They don't cook for three days, they don't clean for three days, just watching soap opera...the husband comes home and has to do all the things when he comes home, "Nothing is made what happened"? "It's My period". " Oh my god..". Then he has to get in the Kitchen and start cooking. So that's why we all know how to cook.

Manju had cooked  some amazing food for us a couple of nights before, this is only part of it. took him less than an hour although we helped with some of the prep.

MJ: Next time I come back I'm planning on doing a cooking class too....we'll rent a kitchen... I'll come with a cooking kit, pans, German knives...


So any other questions?

A couple of questions here on Pranayama relating to the earlier pranayama session that only really makes sense if I were transcribing the whole pranayama session (I'm not). Manju's pranayama is pretty much like the regular Ashtanga pranayama ( see my pranayama page at the top of the blog) but with some subtle, minor, variations that I haven't sat down and sorted out yet. 
This was perhaps the only disappointing part of the course for me. Manju wanted to spend more time on pranayama in the course ( in this Q and A, he mentions that we are here for another couple of days and will be spending more time learning different pranayamas. However he was so keen to keep re enforcing the adjustments he'd taught us that we just ran out of time. Luckily I'd already been taught pranayama and have been practicng for a few years but I imagine if learning pranayama was one of your main reasons for joining the course you might have been disappointed. If you take the course ask Manju pranayama questions on the first Q and A session to show how much your interested in this area of practice. 
Next year I'll swamp him with pranayama and Philosophy questions, watch this space : )

MJ: So have YOU got any questions?  

(Manju looked right at me here, we'd been discussing a couple of things regarding asana in the break and I felt Manju wanted to mention them in the class. He'd been concerned about a couple of instances in the course book we were given where the chin was on the mat or knee rather than the forehead).

ME: I wanted to ask you about, you adjusted me today, thank-you, in supta kurmasana...

MJ: Yes

Me: ...and I learnt somewhere, somewhere or other I picked up that once you practiced Intermediate series then you do a dwi pada sirsasana  (both legs behind head while seated) entry to Supta Kurmasana, you go in with the legs behind the head...but I noticed you brought my legs out from behind my head (/neck/shoulders) (on to the top of my head)...

MJ: Yes, they were never on top of your head in Supta kurmasana. It's all new. yYah there was never... you are not supposed to put your legs behind, they should always be..(above the head not behind) because if you look at a tortoise the head goes in the back is round. Somebody started doing that and in the future that's going to cause a lot of problems for people with their necks, it is not supposed to take so much weight. See that's when they are trying to slowly change all the things, not the way they are supposed to be doing it...

Me: ( I ask ) Because it made it into the book ( the Greek version of Manju's Adjutments book and also Manju's Ashtanga Yoga co written with Greg Tebi) ..., It's behind the neck here ( showing picture).

Manju says the forehead should be down in supta Kurmasana
Forehead down in Yoga mudra
Forehead to the knee ( as in the name of the asana) in Ardhabadhapadmapaschimottanasana
 And here the same 'errors' in Manju's Ashtanga Yoga with Greg Tebi

MJ: See we're going to clean all that up (laughs)

Me: That makes sense because the exit (from supta kurmasana) is tittbhaasana..

MJ: The only time you can do that (legs behind head) is in dwi pada sirsasana because you are sitting and in yoga mudra you are actually laying on your feet. We did that book in a rush, that's why.

In our discussion earlier, outside class, Manju had been talking about the clues (often) being in the names, so in Janushirsasana the head should be on the knee. He's asked to check something in the book, Yoga mudra, and said that the forehead should be on the mat not the chin. He seemed concerned about these aspects.

Kristina questioned Manju here about the structure of the rest of the course. Found it interesting that Manju stressed once more that he wanted us to have the time to practice again and again the adjustments, to reenforce them. I liked this, I was afraid before the course that we would only get to practice each adjustment once or twice But Manju made sure we constantly re enforced them, going right back to those from the first day and to practice them in different groups and thus on different body types, an excellent aspect of the course.

MJ: Yes, last day just a practice and then practice everything we went through, just to make sure they are not going to forget. then they don't see me until next year. Then we're going to sit down and correct all the postures you know. There are all these postures that have got mixed up, done wrongly, we're going to sit down and make sure you all know the right way of doing them.  

Like we (looking at me) were talking about padaangustasana, pada angusta. Pada hasta has never been there...somebody start to do it and then everybody start to do it that way... and in Supta Konasana they are holding here ( around the side of the feet) but it should always be here (the toes) otherwise it's impossible to come up. Small details to be cleaned out.

Me: I noticed in janu shirsasana this morning that you chanted naasaagradrishti ( this was the led Primary with listen and repeat of the names of the postures, vinyasa count and drishti) not padangushtadrishti.

MJ: Yes, everything is wrong, wrong, wrong.


Q: In savasana today I felt very good after the chanting... it was different.

MJ: Well good, Good. We actually did a very traditional practice today, we did complete... meditation, pranayama, relaxation. Utpluthi is optional you know. In traditional practice you don't jump back and jump through, you take your rest and finish.

Q: Will we do a led class again ( the listen and repeat led)?

MJ: It depends on my mood...You like the led class : )

All/Most: yes, yes..

MJ: So how many of you do the second series?

Tashi (named : )  LED SECOND!?

(collective groan/gasp)

Me: be careful what you wish for

(nervous laughter around the room)

MJ: Led second is actually easier than the first one because there are less jump backs and jump throughs.
So maybe we can introduce that... perhaps tomorrow. We'll do a led class, intermediate, tomorrow.


Q: (Can't hear the question clearly here - back of the room - seem to be asking about perhaps the future of Ashtanga Vinyasa, and traditional practice).

MJ: Yeah, that's why I'm trying to keep it as traditional as possible. That's the problem, everybody starts there own styles and that, it's quite dangerous actually because they don't know what they're doing. Even all the asana we do are sacred mudras actually, all the mudras we do in the posture are supposed to be accurate otherwise we don't get any benefit from it, so...I try my best to keep the way the original. Then I look at how many people are practicing and that's how it grows.

Q: if you don't know those mudras you use in the asanas, some people do mudras in marichasana(?). If you don;t know those you leave them out or... should we use those mudras?

MJ: You don't have to use the mudra in that one but if you use it no problem.

K: Nobody told me but naturally it came up.

MJ: When you start getting into more and more meditative yoga then automatically the mudra will go by itself, you don't have to do anything you see. So that's what happens ....there are so many mudras. (Manju shows a few different mudras here).
So all these mudras we can learn but as I say asana is a mudra, that's why you have to be a more traditional way to practice it, to get the complete benefit. It should not be like a circus. It's supposed to be a work of the physical and spiritual, they both merge there. If your practicing yoga you get the benefit.


Me: Can I ask how important you feel that moving on into Advanced series is, as opposed to just deepening your primary and maybe your second series. you've been talking about chanting, you've been talking about the pranayama and bringing those in, you've been talking about slower breathing...rather than just... How important is Advanced series?

MJ: Not really important...because it is there people do it (laughs). I think the first and the second part(series) is perfect practice. It's not really that you have to do it (advanced series), It's not important. But it's just about balancing, all about balancing. 

Me: Once you've learnt second series, normally the way it's done is that you only do your Primary on Friday but do you feel it would be better, once your comfortable with your 2nd series, as comfortable as you are with your Primary. Is it better, do you think, to do one day Primary one day 2nd, one day Primary one day 2nd, alternating them

MJ: Yes

Me: .... or half of primary half of 2nd...?

MJ: Once you know all the second part (of primary) you just do all the standing postures, then paschimottanasana, purvottanasana then go to passasana , krounchasana.. If you know only a few 2nd series then you just go up to navasana and then you change it to pasasana, krounchasana.

Me: But once you know?

MJ: Once you know then one day you do Primary, one day Intermediate. And if your practicing 3rd series so you do only Primary plus a little bit of 2nd and then you add... but you don't do all the second, then, again you go back... you see you should never stop doing Primary and the Intermediate because people are doing only the 3rd part ( series), different muscles will start developing and then they'll come back to the pasasana and they can't do it.... because they're not using the muscles. Everything has to be managed (balanced?).

(pause) That's my own personal experience as I found out. Because I was not a fan of the first part of Intermediate and then when I started 3rd I loved it. I even did not do three or five salutations sometimes, I just wanted to jump in. So I'd do three or four salutations and then start doing vasisthasana viswamitrasana... And then one day my father would say today... we are doing 2nd series today. Because he used to do a led class for us every other day. So when he said pasasana I would go like this...couldn't do it. Then he said pasasana PASASANA! " OK Dad, I'm trying you know.."I pulled my back muscles. So then I had to quit doing it  for a while. So that's what happens when you do the handstands like this..., these muscles take a lot of pressure and start developing and then when you want to twist your lower muscles lock up... so that's why it's not a balanced. You have to balance it.

So if your doing 3rd series you can stop anywhere (anytime?) you want.


Me: Can I ask just one more question? I remember in one of your interviews, I think in one of the German magazines you mentioned that you used to watch your father practice and he would do long stays in certain postures. Your maybe the only person who's seen your father practice. I wondered if you could share anything you remember from watching him practice?

MJ: Oh a lot of memories about my father, first he like to teach us then he wants to practice as well, sometimes I used to practice with him. he had a really nice body, the strength he had, amazing. that why I started getting impressed with this practice...sometimes he would stop his practice and help me with mine... but his help was pretty... hard (laughs). He just yanks you wild like sometimes.
It was actually very very nice to watch him do that (practice).

Me: Was it quite slow and meditative or dynamic..?

MJ: Just like we did today actuall.... inhale, exhale. Everything has to be a full, filled up to here and push everything out... and so we used to do about fifteen salutations and no carpet or anything just a cement floor. And it was hot but every time you got to chatwari it was like, "Oh it feels so good"(cool cement floor). Then we would start sweating and the sweat was running all over the floor because every Indian house has a hole, a water hole all the sweat would go down that..

MJ: I'd seen my mother doing yoga too, she had a good practice.

Me: How did she used to practice?

MJ: She used to do Advanced postures and everything my mother, yeah she was pretty good at that. But the only problem was they had to do all their practice with their sari's on, Leotards hadn't been invented then.

Q: What was the reason guruji stopped practicing... in his 50s, I don't know if it's true?

MJ: Oh no he did not stop practicing in his 50s, no he practiced until 75, 76. Then he got real busy but he still practiced. he used to do pranayama, chanting for almost an hour and a half everyday and early morning chanting, which drove my mother crazy. Until 90 years he was great and then he hit 90 and actually I think the car destroyed him. Buying the car was the biggest mistake because once he got the car he never walked.

OK thank you everybody.


Thursday, 29 August 2013

UPDATED: Ramaswami's Vinyasa Krama slideshows plus Yoga sutra chant, 10 Vedic peace Chants and lectures on developing an integrated Yoga practice, linking Asana, Pranayama and Meditation..

Ramaswami has been busy while I've been away in Crete and working on the transcripts of the Q and A from Manju's course. There are the Slide shows made up of the pictures from his book The complete book of Vinyasa Yoga as well as some chants including all four chapters of the Yoga Sutras and 10 vedic peace chants.. Also the excellent two part talk, "Linking Asana, Pranayama and Meditation.

Here are the Vinyasa krama sequence slideshows, will add the others if and when Ramaswami posts them



Two excellent lectures on Linking Asana, Pranayama and meditation, developing an Integrated Yoga practice.

Ramaswami Chanting all fours chapters of the Yoga Sutras.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Manju Jois TT course Pt4b of 4 : Questions and Answers - Rishi series? When to practice? Why 'females' shouldn't do Advanced series? When did SKPJ write Yoga Mala etc.

Manju basically said on his TT course in Crete last week, that he saw himself more as a messenger than a teacher (or guru), just passing on what his father had taught to him.

Here's more of the message.

More transcriptions and notes from Manju's TT, see the earlier post for the sketchy notes from Monday and full transcription from Tuesday.

UPDATE: Decided to include this video from an EARLIER workshop. Listening to the recordings of our workshop again I have Manju's voice, his relaxed manner clear in my head. Hopefully if you watch this video first you'll hear Manju's voice more clearly as you read the following transcription.

Wednesday I screwed up the recording and only had a chance to throw a few lines down when I got back to the apartment and M. (If anybody has a recording from Monday and Wednesday and would like to pass it along via dropbox or something I would gladly transcribe them, fascinating going through these again this closely)

Wednesday : Brief (very brief) notes

Chanting: don't worry (at first ) about meaning

Listening, nobody knows how to listen anymore (re chanting, learning chants)

I thought that was a bit like Jazz, how back in the day the musician would listen to the record, learn the solos phrase by phrase, wearing out copies of the records. I started off doing that with CD's Now it seems you have the books, the Berkeley like jazz courses and learn to play long reams of notes missing perhaps that delicate phrasing of the old masters.

Guruji wanted to teach philosophy classes but nobody came

First asana then bring in drishti, then bandhas, then philosophy


Thursday (transcription)
Questions in bold, MJ is Manju, Me: are my questions obviously, Q: relates to questions from others on the course. I've tried to divide it up into related groups of question.

Q: It's said not to practice on full moon/ new moon days

MJ: Oh, WHY not practice on full moon days?

Q: I only thought, if you have a class on these days....?

MJ: Yes full moons are held as higher magnitude days, it means there are a lot of power there. if you look at the moon , the full moon, it is not a normal moon it's is know as a (?) moon, the moon is not taking care of anybody that day, it is on vacation. It's big and round and not responsible for anything that happens while your practicing, that's why they say you have to take a day off. The new moon and the full moon both have the same thing, we don't practice anything that day.

Q: So if we thought to give a lesson, don't do it.

MJ: You can give a lesson. But makes sure they are not trying to do anything fantastic. Sanskrit schools close all the schools at the beginning of the moon day to the end of the moon day, two days, so you don't have to go to school for two days.


Long pause

MJ: No questions?

Me: Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams mentioned that there were originally five series, Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A and B... and then Rishi series. And David Williams talks about the Rishi series as taking ten postures and staying in them for up to say fifty breaths or so. And I remember in an interview with you, you mentioned that your father used to stay in some postures for a very long time, and I remember in another interview you saying that you used to choose... you would take some postures from Primary, some from Intermediate and some from Advanced. So I wondered 1. is that the Rishi series or was your father joking slightly...?

MJ: So when you start ageing you have to balance the body, in my age I have to balance it, so I don't want to get hurt or something like that. Or I want to keep my body in good shape so what we do is, you give Primary a few postures, then you pick something from Intermediate for your lower back, shalabasana, bhekasana, ustrasana something like that, then some Advanced postures to make sure you still have it.

( laughter)

So you pick so galvasana or astavakrasana, some of these postures... then you do some pranayama and some chanting and that will balance the whole thing.

But then the third series is named after all the sages, Vishwamitrasana, kasyapasana.... sometimes females are not supposed to practice those things, see there are so many postures, advanced postures that are not meant for females, it is male. The man picks the postures, so for example (? didn't catch the name of the posture, dighasana, trivikramasana?), leg goes this way in standing, he has to stay in this posture for at least 100 deep breaths, so that's how they all meditated in those postures... to succeed.

So that's why we practice, we're not trying to become a sage or anything, so we just keep it as simple as possible.

Me: And for you when you choose your practice, you would change it, on different days....?

MJ: Yes, it would depend on my mood, whether I felt like doing galavasana, asavakrasana, the balancing ones.... and finish by making sure I can still walk on my hands, practicing that because a lot of people after they're sixty can't do anything...well, I refuse to grow up.


Q: Why are advanced postures not for females?

MJ: It is not good for them, it has different effects on the body, for men too some postures like mulabhandasana...mulabhandasana, sitting on the heels...there are all sorts of postures that are not supposed to be practiced, that have a different effect. It (mulabhandasana?) completely takes away the sexual desire in the body, so... we are all married you know (householders), we don't want to lose that. So that's why we want to keep it simple, the practice.

Mulabandhasana from
Me: So why are they in the series? Why do we have those postures in the series?

MJ: There are so many postures in the series, so we pick only a few of them, because there are thousands and thousands of postures. It represents all kinds of reptiles, animals, birds...everything we have in the universe we have a posture for that. So we pick some postures, mostly beneficial for our health, so we practice that.

Me: Sorry, I meant if those postures we're not supposed to be practicing why are they in the series?

MJ: Some people want to become sages, they don't want to be dealing with anything else. You have always a choice about what you do.

Me: And I guess five breaths is not so long.

MJ: Five breaths is just a show, show me that you can stay in that posture for thirty minutes. then that becomes a challenge. See that's what they did. They were very determined person, so Durvasana(?) "if god don't want to meet me then I will go on strike. "I will do THIS posture". So he got in the posture and did not come out, start feeling numb, then he feel nothing, that's what those sages did and why their postures are named after them.

Q: And the same about the vinyasas? I was wondering as we are ageing we pick the postures. Is it the same counts for vinyasas, how many vinyasas we do, each side...?

MJ: Well it depends on our energy level. if we are feeling fit go ahead and do it. But we talk about certain postures that keep our body in a good shape. Every 3000 km we take our car and get the engine checked, same thing, the body needs to be and also practice certain positions so that we don't have a hip problem. Because usually when people start getting older, if they do nothing... in yoga we talk about keeping the spinal chord very healthy, strong...that's why we do all the postures, take many positions. So we bend, ustrasana lagu vajrasana, kapotasana, all this way and shalabhasana and bhekasana all go this way and then marichyasna Cand D and Bhardvajrasana all twisted, it needs to be twisted, then in the krumasana it needs to be round. So once you practice all these spinal positions there will be no calcium deposits where the bones can not move anymore and that's how osteoporosis starts. Mostly females get the osteoporosis. That's why we see more female's doing yoga, less men but men will get it later, they will pay later if they don't do it now. That's why spinal problems are very important, we don't over do it but some people are overdoing it because they are nimble then they can hurt more, you have to be sensible about it.


Q: Again about age. What is the best age in your opinion to teach children? So when we can start?

MJ: You can start girls from the age of six, it's a good age for them you can start working on their spin and they grow healthier and healthier, boys it should be more like ten because if you start boys earlier their muscles start growing, that's what happened to me, so you have to wait until ten.

Also, don't force them to do yoga. All you have to do is just practice in frount of them and you get their attention, "Oh mummy's doing that, I'm going to do it".


Q: Guruji can you tell us something about the relationship between Ashtanga Patanjali and Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga? I see the relationship with the asana and the pranayama combined and pratyahara with the drishti but the other limbs like Dharana, Dhyana?

MJ: So Ashtanga yoga is the eight limbs of the yoga, hatha yoga is the basis of the tree, these all come off the branches that we have to go through. so that's why we say there are Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana Samadhi, Yama, Niyama, yama/niyama come at the end. So that's where we start.
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is all about the purification of your own body, that's why we start with the asana, pranayama, mantra chanting... then when we start being there yama and Niyama start coming automatically. See there is no secret practice for that. It is called disciplining yourself, your thoughts, your body.... what you eat. We don't say people should change their diet because that all happens by the niyama. the Niyama will tell you how to keep your body, what to eat. The body becomes really sensitive from practicing yoga. It will tell you what kind of food you like.

See yoga is all simple, it's everything else that is complicated.


Q: Manju, How many times should they practice in the beginning, when they are just starting the practice? Six times already or less?

MJ: I think if you start every practice everyday, this is another dish on the table. For beginners they should do it every day


Q: How do I keep this feeling of relaxation (from the practice) when I get to the office?

MJ: Offices are depressing places for anybody. A lot of people are allergic to work.  So we suggest you  might try gayatri chanting. See gayatri chanting sets up a circle around you, to protect you. When we teach this you have to believe it, you have to have complete faith , you have to believe it, you see yoga doesn't work for the people who doubt all the time, "Is this really going to work"?

So you can add it to your daily life, a little chanting or if you get depressed at the office. Sit down for a few minutes, a little chanting

Om Bhuh Om Bhuvaha Om Swaha Om Maha Om Janaha Om Tapaha Om Satyamm,
Om Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodyat
Aum Apo Jyoti Raso Amritram Brahma Bhuh Bhuvaha Swarom

All the chanting that we teach are protection for the mind body, the whole thing, for the universe. When you start doing that nothing can come close to you. You'll feel stronger than you think.


Q: I assume that you are still learning, in what ways?

MJ: Well, you learn a lot of things from people, we are all students, we are all just learning from one another. Some people ask me questions and I am hmmmmm. Sometimes we don't know the answers to questions but somehow it comes to you

Q: Do you also get frustrated and stressed?

MJ: I never get stressed, tired, frustrated, no. I never complain.

I think frustration is all inside of us.
(Quotes something in Sanskrit that I couldn't catch), There's no such thing as happiness, there's no such thing as poor, there's no such thing as rich... it's everything your creating inside of you.

In Sanskrit it says 'aham-brahmasmi' I am everything. I am the creator, the destroyer and the preserver.
Yog means to unite in yourself

Manju discusses here drug companies and how we're beginning to lose faith in them especially when we consider the side effects etc. ( and thus looking for other ways to stay healthy).


MJ: So any questions that pops in your mind? ( still, after 25 minutes, Manju is happy to take more questions, encouraging them even).

Me: I wanted to ask you how, when your father was first teaching you, how he...because there is this period, we know what happened in the 70's when Nancy and David went (to Mysore). You told us stories about when you came to California and you were teaching there.. and we know what Krishnamacharya was kind of doing in the 30s and 40s and 50s, but we don't really... there is that period in between, that period when your father was teaching you yoga, teaching you the asana. Did he teach you the sequences that we learn or was he teaching you in a completely different way?

MJ: He started teaching the sequences.

Me: In the same way?

MJ: So when he wrote his first book, he was already.... he would call me and he would be sitting writing and he would call me and say :"Manju, do this posture", and I would do this, then he would make a note of that. he would research like this for days. that's how he did it, it took a long time for him to write.

Me; When did he write it first because you said it was later on that it was published, when did he first write it down, the first draft?

MJ: I was a little boy. He was always interested in writing a book about the yoga because it was all everywhere.

Me: But it was in Yoga Makaranda and Yogasanagalu (Krishnamacharya's books), it was in the kanada language wasn't it.

MJ: Yeah, If you look at the Yoga Makaranda, none of them are in sequence

Me: But Yogasanagalu was in sequences, that book had tables

MJ: My father did all the sequences for all the yoga tables he was the one who researched it, then he started bringing it all together. Because my father was the only one at the university, at the Department of the Science of Yoga, he graduated from that and did a lot of research and was able to write that. Krishnamacharya didn't put anything in order.

pages from the asana tables in Krishnamacharya Yogasanagalu (1941)
Link to translation project

Me: But there was, in Krishnamacharya's other book Yogasanagalu 1941, it's in tables. There's the Primary, the Middle and the Proficient. It's not in the same way as Yoga Mala, the other series but it's in three groups, very similar.

MJ: I've seen Krishnamacharya's photos of him doing suryanamaskara, just one chart.... not many photos, they were all taken in the Maharaja's studios, so they used to hang those photos in the yoga school in India where my father was teaching. these are all the rumours.

Krishnamacharya standing below pictures of him from Yoga Makaranda.

Q: (from the back of the room, hard to hear on the recording). Your father was a family man, he had a wife children and had to support them (through yoga). It must have been a difficult time 

MJ: A very difficult time yes.

Q: Can you tell us a little about that, it was his faith I guess that got him through that difficult period?

MJ: My father was a very determined person, he was very determined, very perfectionist everything he does has to be perfect and when we were growing up the college salary was not very much, maybe 15 or 20 rupees at that time. So we did not grow up in a very luxurious life or anything. So that gave him even more determination to teach his children to succeed in their lives. So he started teaching us all the yoga. We were very interested too at that time because we didn't have any other kinds of entertainment. Even in 1975 when I came to America there was no cellphone. When you were growing up in India there was nothing, so you listen to the chant to amuse yourself or yoga, those were the choices. So it was the perfect opportunity for us, to learn together and from our father. 
And slowly it started getting bigger and bigger and then a lot of the people who worked in music, they started studying with my father, lots of musicians, famous musicians because Mysore was very famous for music, they all want to study in Mysore. And they all start studying (yoga), vocalists, violinists, flautists and drum people.

Q: and people from the university?

MJ: Yes, professors from the university started coming, because they were all curious about the yoga because when yoga started coming out.... because Krishnamacharya wasn't taking anyone to learn, pushing people away, I don't know why. Then I think people were looking then when my father became a teacher slowly he was discovered.
And then my father was discovered through me. When I was on the road in India, that's how I met David Williams.

Me: How long were you travelling (in India)? I remember reading that you were travelling around, ran away and travelled round India..

MJ: Yes I was getting a little bored in myself and wanted to do different things. Then I had a friend a best friend an ayurvedic doctor and he had a small clinic but he wasn't doing very good either. So we were talking, why don't we just go on the road because he knew the ayureveda, I studied the Yoga put them together and travel around a little and see what it looks like outside mysore. So we just got on the train, we didn't have money for the train but when the ticket collector came we just jumped off the train, they were steam trains then, very slow you could just jump off.
We made it all the way to the north, we visited Benares... I wanted to learn dhauti Kriya.

Manju tells his Dhauthi Kriya/sadhu story here, great story, great how Manju tells it and I don't want to spoil it for you in case you get the chance to take one of his workshop.


In this series of posts

Manju Jois TT Pt 1 0f 4 : Photo preview: Manju's Workshop in Rethymno, Crete

Manju Jois TT pt 2 of 4 : Ashtanga Adjustments ?

Manju Jois TT pt 3 of 4 : Practice

Manju TT Crete pt 4a of 4 : Q and A - Development of the Ashtanga series etc.

Next post Manju Jois TT  Crete Pt 4c of 4  Friday's (transcription)


Link to Kristina Karitinou website 

Links to the extended Ashtanga yoga Greece family 

Manju's website

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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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