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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Reflecting on Spinal Sequence footwork and how to improve/develop it. - Ankle bandha

Focussing on the feet in Simon Borg-Olivier and Bianca Machliss' Yoga Synergy Spinal sequence.... or any other approach to asana come to think of it..

I find this a highly Meditative practice with a lot of freedom of movement and expression available, I want to be sure my ankles and knees are as protected as possible as well as to consider how to make the movements as efficient and beneficial as possible.

A more detailed blog post to come perhaps ( or at least some more notes on foot positioning), to focus more on what's going on with my feet in the spinal sequence and elsewhere, referencing perhaps chapter six of Simon Borg-Olivier and Bianca Machliss' Applied Anatomy & Physiology of Yoga book and Yogasynergy online course, on the ankle joint complex ( what they call Kulpha Bandha), as well as perhaps looking to dance traditions. Paying attention to toes, arches, ankles.

Video: practicing a little faster than usual for the camera.

"Tha-kulpha bandha is an expansive co-activation (simultaneous tensing) of antagonistic (opposing) muscle groups around the ankle joint complex. In this case I create this ankle bandha by: 

*** pressing into the base of the big toe which activates the muscles behind the ankle, 

*** pulling back my big toe itself, which activates the muscles on the front of my ankle and,

*** pulling the outer foot towards the knee, which activates the outer ankle.

These activations not only stabilise the ankle but also encourage blood flow to the ankle. This ankle bandha can more simply be used in almost any posture that has the foot off the floor, such as niralamba virabhadrasa, niralamba padangusthasana, sirsasana and also postures where the feet are on the floor but are not taking full body weight such as baddha konasana and janu sirsasana.

Tha-kulpha Bandha and ha-kulpha Bandha (which also uses the outer ankle muscles but includes gripping with the toes to activate the rear ankle and lifting the top of the foot to activate the front of the ankle) are really great to use for the prevention and healing of ankle sprains". 
Simon Borg-Olivier 2015

See perhaps this earlier post on the nine joint complexes as bandhas

from the post...

'The concept that bandhas are co-activations of opposing muscles can be extended to the major joints of the upper and lower limbs. Co-activation of opposing muscles around joint complexes (bandha) provides the strength and stability to safely perform advanced yoga postures, and to assist in the Àow of energy throughout the body.' p60

Here then are their nine bandhas

1. kulpha bandha  ankle joint complex.

2. janu bandha  knee joint complex.

3. kati bandha hip joint complex

4. mula bandha lumbar spine joint complex

5. uddiyana bandha  chest and thoracic spine joint complex.

6. jalandhara bandha  cervical spine joint complex.

7. amsa bandha ishoulder joint complex.

8. kurpara bandha elbow joint complex

9. mani bandha  wrist joint complex


Here's a full class with Simon from Love Yoga Anatomy

And below, part of the 28 part youTube series of videos that first made me attracted me to Simon and Bianca's approach to practice and how it can be applied perhaps to however we approach our own practice

Video Transcript:

“In the beginning I am standing with legs hip width apart as it gives a slightly wider base of support. I lean further forward with my hips and my armpits. This gives a reflex activation of the abdominal muscles so now if I breathe into the abdomen it will hardly move. Whereas if I lean back where one normally stands and breathe into the abdomen you will see a noticeable expansion in the abdomen. This same diaphragmatic breathing if you lean forward, the abdomen draws inwards naturally. If I breathe into the abdomen now, it’s firm but calm. Diaphragmatic breathing will allow you to feel calm.”

Simon in London.

For my friends back in the UK, Simon will be coming to London in June to teach at Triyoga

8 - 10 June 2018
SBO YS Workshop, London, UK (Host/Venue: TriYoga, London)…

Here's Simon's full 2018 calendar and an outline of what he teaches,

My Calendar for the rest of 2018:
The main reason I practice is to encourage the circulation of energy and loving information through my body. In physiological terms this means to encourage blood flow and to generate energy, while remaining completely calm, peaceful and loving. And although circulation is enhanced it is done without increasing heartrate or stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, but rather encouraging the activities of the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to increase the function of my immune system, digestive system and reproductive system. This type of practice also helps to send messages to my subconscious that I am in a safe place and that love, peace, trust, gentleness, sharing and giving are the dominant paradigms. Following my physical practice therefore it is these type of feelings that I want to share with the people in the world around me.
I have a simple practice of posture, movement and breathing, which in its simplest form involves me mainly moving actively and fluidly from my centre (Kanda, Dantien, Hara). Sometimes the movement is external but often the movement cannot be seen externally and can only be felt on the inside as the movement of blood and consciousness. My practice is such that I can:

• improve flexibility without feeling intense stretch

• improve strength without feeling tense or stressed

• become more relaxed without needing to be completely passive

• improve energy levels without having to breathe more than normal

• promote circulation without needing to make heart rate increase

• improve the intelligence of body cells without having to over-think

• satiate appetite and feel nourished without having to eat as much

• feel rested and rejuvenated without having had to sleep as much

Calendar of Yoga Synergy (YS) Workshops (WS) and Teacher Training (TT) with Simon Borg-Olivier (SBO) 2018:
I would love to share some of this with you. Here is where I will teaching over the next few months in case you can come and we also have lots online at if you cant see me physically...
*** 4 February - 4 March 2018
200 hour TT Intensive Training, Goa India
Main Teacher: Simon Borg-Olivier (Host: Yoga Synergy)

*** 7 - 8 March 2018
Simon Teaching at The International Yoga Festival; Rishikesh, India

*** 23 - 24 March 2018
History and Philosophy of Yoga Lectures For Teacher Training Course at Ihana Yoga Melbourne (Closed) (Host/Venue: Ihana Yoga)

*** 25 March 2018
SBO YS Workshop; Melbourne, Australia (Host/Venue: Ihana Yoga)

*** 24 April - 9 May 2018
Yoga Synergy Teacher 100 hour Training Japan (Closed)

*** 11 - 20 May 2018
SBO YS 10 day Course on the Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga
Teacher: Simon Borg-Olivier
Sydney, Australia (Host: Yoga Synergy)…/interactive-applied-anatomy-phys…/

*** 19 May 2018
SBO Public Lecture on Yogic Nutrition
Sydney, Australia (Host: Yoga Synergy)…/eat-less-live-longer-yogic-diet-…/

*** 25 - 27 May 2018
SBO YS Workshop; Byron Bay, Australia (Host/Venue: Kristen Boddington)

8 - 10 June 2018
SBO YS Workshop, London, UK (Host/Venue: TriYoga, London)…

*** 15 - 17 June 2018
SBO YS Workshop; Laussane, Switzerland

*** 22 - 24 June 2018
SBO YS Workshop; Barcelona, Spain (Host/Venue: NowHere Yoga)…/simon-borg-olivier-masterclass-series/

*** 25 - 27 June 2018
SBO YS Workshop; Paris, France

*** 29 June - 1 July 2018
SBO YS Workshop; Milan, Italy (Host/Venue: City ZEN Milan)

*** 27 - 29 July 2018
SBO YS Therapy Workshop
Hamburg, Germany
(Host/Venue: Power Yoga Germany)…

*** 30 July - 5 August 2018
SBO YS Intensive Course Dusseldorf Gemany (Host/Venue: VishnuVibes)

*** 10 - 12 August 2018
SBO YS Workshop London (Host/Venue: Yogarise Peckham_
*** 14 - 26 August 2018
SBO 100 hour Intensive, Barcelona, Spain (Host/Venue: NowHere Yoga)

*** 7 - 16 September 2018
YS 10 Day Yoga Therapy Intensive, Sydney
Teacher: Simon Borg-Olivier
Sydney, Australia (Host: Yoga Synergy)…/yoga-therapy-vinyasa-intensive/

*** 21 - 22 September 2018
History and Philosophy of Yoga Lectures For Teacher Training Course at Ihana Yoga Melbourne (Closed) (Host/Venue: Ihana Yoga)

*** 23 September 2018
SBO YS Workshop; Melbourne, Australia (Host/Venue: Ihana Yoga)

*** 29 - 30 September 2018
SBO YS Yoga Therapy (Weekend 1 - limbs and anatomy focus); Brisbane, Australia (Host/Venue: Kaya/Yoga Bones)

*** 4 - 10 October 2018
SBO YS Intensive Training; Perth, Australia (Host/Venue: Sydel/Home of Yoga)

*** 13 - 14 October 2018
SBO Yoga Therapy (Weekend 2 - trunk and physiology focus); Brisbane, Australia (Host/Venue: Kaya/Yoga Bones)

*** 19 - 28 October 2018
YS TT Paradise One 10 day Intensive; Byron Bay, Australia (Host: Yoga Synergy)
Teachers: Simon Borg-Olivier and Bianca Machliss (Host: Yoga Synergy)…/200hour-teacher-training-sydney-…/

*** 4 November - 2 December 2018
SBO YS TT Bali, Indonesia
200h and 300h Teacher: Simon Borg-Olivier (Host: Yoga Synergy)…/teacher-training-bali-nov-2018/

*** 10 - 13 December 2018
SBO YS and Master Yang Workshop; Gold Coast, Australia

*** 29 - 31 December 2018
SBO teaching at Lost Paradise Festival Glenworth Valley, Australia

*** 3 February - 3 March 2019
200 hour TT Intensive Training, Goa India
Main Teacher: Simon Borg-Olivier (Host: Yoga Synergy)

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Current practice, the why and the wherefore of Active Spinal movements.

Strangely enough, following Mary Taylor's taking the lid off the question of Pattabhi Jois' inappropriate adjustments/abuse recently and all that arose from that, I ended up practicing a more by the book Ashtanga than I had in a long time. That continued through 'Listgate' and Sharath's removal of authorised and certified teachers from the  AYRI (later KPJAYI) teachers list that he had taken with him to

The worst the drama got the 'straighter' my practice became, for awhile anyway. I would still practice Simon's Spinal movements but then move into a pretty regular half Primary/half Intermediate series practice as if I was trying to reaffirm that Pattabhi Jois' behaviour or Sharath's 'clumsy' actions didn't compromise the practice. At some point it all just became tiresome, especially following Sharath's 'explanatory' letter on his website,  I felt like washing my hands on the whole thing. I allowed my practice to move further from the narrow path, extended the arm waving (Spinal movements) I do before practice into my practice of seated asana, the middle part of my practice became more Vinyasa Krama than what might be recognised as 'Ashtanga', less jump backs and through, hands free, more variations, my inversions included going in and out of asana, hands free asana, most perhaps wouldn't recognise it as an 'Ashtanga' practice.

But then that's the problem with associating Ashtanga with the asana, with the sequence of asana, the practice of asana.

Jois offers a minimum practice in his book Yoga Mala, the Suryanamaskara's and the last three postures......, it's still Ashtanga.

Jois also discusses practicing as we get older, he basically writes that we can practice whatever feels appropriate once we reach fifty......  it's still Ashtanga.

If you have to modify your practice drastically due to injury or current physical condition.....,  it's still Ashtanga.

It's not WHAT we practice or, I would argue, not even HOW we practice but rather that we DO practice, as often as possible, that constitutes the postural aspect of Ashtanga.

So although I'm tempted to call what I practice something else entirely and run a mile from all the drama or even better still, not call it anything at all, it somehow feels wrong to deny it's Ashtanga, that merely reenforces the idea that there is a correct way to practice Ashtanga, an authorised way, a focus on particular postures in a particular sequence, when perhaps the only 'correct' way to practice Ashtanga that makes any sense is to practice (whatever form that might take) with commitment and sincerity in the context of the other limbs (however you may characterise them perhaps in your/our own tradition)

As it happens, listening to the panel discussions of the Ashtanga yoga Confluence this week gave me a (mostly) warm fuzzy feeling about Ashtanga again, it's a broad, inclusive church and we can ignore those who may diminish the practice in our eyes as most are quite happy to ignore or remain oblivious to anything we might post on blogs, fb or Insta.


I mentioned Simon Borg-Olivier in the intro to the previous post and added these videos to an Appendix.

I'm also looking to bring my exploration of Simon Borg-Olivier's active and spinal movements teaching into my practice of seated Asana as well as into standing, to seek to move actively into a posture. To reflect on how Simon would approach the asana Ramaswami presents under Vinyasa Krama. If Ashtanga Vinyasa is more closely identified with as strict an adherence to the sequences presented by Jois as our situation may allow then my current practice is then more Vinyasa Krama, research but essentially, just practice.

This is an example of what I mean, here is the Vinyasa Krama side bending poses from seven years ago and below that what I'm working on with Simon.

I'm also very much looking forward to Simon's upcoming online course or DVD on Ashtanga and how he will approach it, possibly along the lines of his 84 key asana course..

The full playlist from which the above video is taken....

for the why and the wherefore of Active Spinal movements.

And here is a link to my presentation of the ten main Vinyasa Krama sequences, a tool chest of asana

We can see evidence of Krishnanamacharya practicing a range of vinyasas, along the lines of those we find in the Vinyasa Krama Supine and Inverted sequences that he taught to Srivatsa Ramaswami from just after leaving Mysore, in his 1938 documentary film footage. It seems that Krishnamacharya was taking a more Vinyasa Krama approach with his private students in the side rooms of the palace while his assistants (Pattabhi Jois among them) led the boys of the palace school through their paces, more along the lines perhaps of what we come to think of as Ashtanga vinyasa. 

Ashtanga Vinyasa and Vinyasa Krama, as named approaches to the practice of asana, are then sister practices, there is no early and late Krishnamacharya in any meaningful sense, Ashtanga vinyasa is a vinyasa krama and vinyasa krama is ashtanga yoga. 


Below, a twenty minute 'short form' from earlier this week, usually I'll tend to include a more traditional Ashtanga half Primary and occasionally and/or a half Second series in between the Standing and Inversions.


I came across another variation of this that only seems to be on Simon's demonstration video on his online course/dvd, you can see it Simon practicing it at 6:35 in the demonstration below mine.

And here's Simon.....

from the notes to the above video

"This is a short low resolution segment of the Yoga Synergy Spinal Movements Sequence DVD by Simon Borg-Olivier. More complex as well as simpler versions of this sequence with instructions are also taught on this DVD, which is available at You can do the simple version of this sequence almost anytime and anywhere, standing, on the floor or in a chair. All you need to do is to be able to comfortably lift your arms and/or lift your shoulders. It progresses from simple versions to harder levels depending your level of health and fitness. This sequence is excellent for the relief of back pain and other problems if done carefully. It is also the easiest way to improve your circulation and energy levels. You can watch a simple one minute version of this simple sequence with easy to follow instructions at (Preview) This sequence is also the basis of the award winning online yoga course 'Yoga Fundamentals: Traditional Yoga for the Modern Body' by Bianca Machliss and Simon Borg-Olivier, which is available at This 28 minute video of a series of spinal movement sequences has no verbal instructions, which helps you not to over-think, but if you attempt any of these sequences then it is important to only do what feels good and to not over-stretch, over-tense or overt-breathe. Simple guidelines to attempt part or all of this sequence: 1. make your aim to simply lengthen and relax 2. move your spine starting from the region corresponding to the navel 3. move each vertebrae one at a time 4. always check your fingers and toes can move, your neck can move and you abdomen (diaphragm) can breathe and that you are feeling calm This practice should ideally make you feel warm yet without the heart racing and it gives you energy rather than taking it from you. VideoTimes (minutes and seconds) of the various spinal movements sequences in this youtube video: A. 00m 00s: Pure spinal movements (PURE SPINE: lengthen, lengthen the back (forward bend), lengthen the front (backward bend), lengthen the left side (left side-bend), lengthen the right side (right side-bend), twist to right side, twist to left side) B. 01m 24s: Pure spinal movements in different LEG POSTURES C. 10m 54s: combined spinal movements (BEACH BALL: side-bend plus twisting) (like turning a large beach ball) D. 14m 12s: Combined spinal movements into one arm (PLATE SPIRAL (like holding a plate in your hand to turn it in spirals): Starting with right hand: twist left (move navel to left), lengthen the front (move navel forward and upwards), twist right (rotate navel to right side), lengthen the right side (move navel to right side and upwards), lengthen the back (move navel forwards and downwards then softly backwards and upwards), lengthen the left side (move navel to left side and upwards) E. 15m 44s: Stepping movements with the hips F. 16m 25s: PLATE SPIRAL with LEG POSTURES SEQUENCE G. 19m 38s: FREE FORM SPINAL YOGA DANCE (Optional - only smooth flowing, no jagged movements of arms legs or spine , so safely at your own pace) H. 21m 19s: Cool down PLATE SPIRAL with LEG POSTURES SEQUENCE I. 24m 27s: Cool down PURE SPINE LEG POSTURE SEQUENCE J. 25m 20s: Cool down PURE SPINE SEATED SEQUENCE For further information please see or join our online courses at and "


Simon Borg-Olivier 'Has yoga lost its soul in the West?'

Just came accross this bringing together of a lot of Simon's thoughts on yoga today as well as a comment in which he responds to a request to share, by saying, 'feel free'.

21 January 2018· 

Today I was asked 'Has yoga lost its soul in the West?' ... Here is an answer I just wrote ...
I think that most people teaching modern yoga have good intentions and some modern yoga does seem to help some people for some time. However, I don't think that what is mostly being taught under the banner of yoga in the modern world today is really yoga, but more a type of exercise system similar to the aerobics of the 1980’s.
Yoga means union and on a global level it is the recognition that every individual consciousness is related to every other individual consciousness in the same loving way that a mother naturally relates to a newborn baby, with selfless service and loving intent and the way a baby relates to that in terms of feeling safe and loved. If this was happening between all the conscious entities in the world today then I would say that the world is in yoga. But before this can happen on this world scale is must first be achieved on a personal level.
Every cell has its own consciousness and I believe that perfect health and yoga in a human body of about 50 trillion cells will manifest when every individual cell treats every other cell like a mother treats a young baby and every individual cell feels like the other cells are treating each individual cell like a young baby. Another way of saying this is that perfect health and yoga comes in the body when there is the circulation of energy and loving information in the body. In scientific terms this is when blood circulates easily through the body without the heart racing and the parasympathetic nervous system (the relaxation and rejuvenation response) is dominating over the sympathetic nervous system (the flight or fight response).
However, in modern yoga and most exercise regimes, when the body feels any sense of increased heart rate, increased breathing (or more correctly increased minute ventilation), increased muscular tension or even an increased sense of stretching, then the body tends to be put into a overly dominant sympathetic nervous system state. The subconscious response during this type of situation is for the body to think there is something wrong, that change is needed and that we are not okay at the present moment. At such times the body tends to reduce, or even completely switch off, the functions of the digestive system, immune system and the reproductive system. Your ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate wastes is impaired with reduced digestive function. Your ability to recover from sickness or injury is hampered with reduce immune function. Similarly your cells ability to reproduce and grow appropriately, as well as your hormone function is reduced when your reproductive system is not working at its best. At such times of 'flight or flight’ that are stimulated with the increased sympathetic nervous system stimulation that is generated with over-tensing and over-stretching muscles, over-breathing and labouring the heart, the dominant emotions (at least on a subconscious level) will tend to be fear, anger, aggression, competitiveness, and a sense of lack of safety. This does not sound at all to me like the yoga described in the Yamas and Niyamas of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
I believe that if you are doing real yoga then you should be feeling love, happiness and safety while you are practicing not only in your relaxation after your exercise. I believe that you should be enhancing the activities of the digestive, immune and reproductive systems, not depleting them; and that this is what creates the possibility for internal health, happiness and longevity. Your yoga practice should be able to increase blood flow without needing to increase heart rate, like a meditating yogi can sit relaxed and naked in the snow but not get cold. To generate yoga on a physical level by improving blood flow without needing to increase heart rate is not only possible but it is the way of healthy people and the way of real hatha yoga. There are 11 other ways of increasing blood flow other than the heart. However, to achieve this it is not possible to simply learn yoga in one month and learn how to teach yoga in one month, especially if your teacher has only learnt for one month, or even a few years. I see that the biggest problem in modern yoga is that it is being spread and taught by people who have mostly missed the essence of true yoga and who lack the traditional and modern science required to translate the ancient teachings into the modern body that has been so radically affected by a predominantly sedentary chair lifestyle in the stressful environment of modern life.
Many people attending modern yoga classes have diagnosed or undiagnosed musculoskeletal problems, medical conditions and mental disorders. Modern yoga teachers invariably have to address the physical, physiological and mental states of their students. Many yoga teachers don't even realise that most modern people have these problems. Other teachers, usually with minimal qualifications, infer that they can help people with musculoskeletal problems like a physiotherapist can, infer that they can help people with medical conditions like a medical doctor can, and infer that they can help people with mental disorders like a psychologist can. If possible I would like to see the introduction of a much more stringent grading system for yoga teachers that really is much more like the grading systems of medical doctors, physiotherapists and psychologists. That may sound extreme to some people, but I ask you that if you were not healthy or had a physical, physiological or mental problem, how would you feel if your therapist (who may tell you that they are a doctor, physiotherapist or psychologist) also confesses to you that they have had only one month of formal training in their field! Would you feel confident to place your body trustingly in their hands?
For more information you can pm me or you can see our blog at
You can join my free short course (6 weeks x 10-15 minutes video each week) at…/boost-12-ways-effectively-move-en…
Thanks to Malwina Ostrowska for this photo of me in India last year.

And from Comments to Simon's post, additional notes.

Simon Borg-Olivier My dear friends,
Thank you so much for all the likes and supportive comments. I was quite uncertain as to whether I should post this or not so I really appreciate your kind words.
Some of you have asked if you can share my post and my answer is yes thanks.

Simon Borg-Olivier Thanks for you comments and shares everyone - i just found this note that i wrote that relates to the post here - Your body (and especially your subconscious) thrives on healthy blood circulation, but it associates increased heart-rate with stress and the 'flight or fight' response (over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system). Therefore, at times of increased heart-rate, the body systems that nourish, happiness, health and longevity (digestive, immune and reproductive systems), tend to be inhibited, and the dominant subconscious emotions tend to become fear, distrust, anger, aggression and lack of safety. However, if you can improve the circulation of energy in the blood, without needing to increase heart-rate, while encouraging the loving and nourishing information of the 'rest, rejuvenation and relaxation' response (stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system) then body can continue effectively absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins, heal from damage or sickness, and regenerate to give you health, happiness and longevity.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Bhagavad Gita as taught to Srivatsa Ramaswami by his teacher T. Krishnamacharya.

Ramaswami just finished teaching a fifty hour course on the Gita

"Just returned to Chennai from New Delhi after teaching a 50 hour (almost) Bhagavat Gita program to a compact dedicated group of yogis at Om Yoga. In 2018 I have been able to teach three important texts taught by my Guru Sri Krishnanacharya: Samkhya Karika of Iswarakrishna at Yoga Vahini in Chennai in January, Yoga Sutras of Maharshi Patanjali as part of 100 hr teacher training program at again Yoga Vahini in Chennai in February and now in March the Gita at Om Yoga in Delhi. We were able to go through the entire texts wotd by word or sutra by sutra. These three are important texts of the three nivriti sastras from the vedas Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta. 
Feeling good". Srivatsa Ramaswami


".....A few years back when I was teaching the 200 hr TT program of Vinyasakrama yoga at Loyola Marymount University, my friends Arun Deva and Sarah Mata-Gabor arranged a 25 hr program during weekends on Bhagavat Gita in Los Angeles. I managed to teach about 10 of the eighteen chapters and Sara had arranged to have the whole program videographed. Last year my friend Jacquelin Sonderling professionally edited the II chapter Samkhya Yoga in two parts and lat me add to my playlist on Youtube. She added all the slokas into the video and meaningful captions enhancing the value of the videos which many viewers found very useful. It is lot of work, very time consuming and I am beholden to Jacquelin Sonderling for the trouble, time and professional skill she has put into this work Thank you Jacquelin. Now she has completed the editing of the Third Chapter Karma Yoga. Here is the link…The other two earlier Bhagavat Gita videos can also be accessed from the following link" Srivatsa Ramaswami

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Part 1, as taught by my honored teacher, Srivatsa Ramaswami. July, 2015, Santa Monica, California

The awesome Srivatsa Ramaswami teaches the Bhagavad Gita. Chapter 2, Part 2, verses 2.50-2.72 July, 2015 - Santa Monica, California

The awesome Srivatsa Ramaswami teaches the Bhagavad Gita. Chapter 3
July, 2015 - Santa Monica, California

See too perhaps, this guest post on the course

Workshop Review: 70 hour sloka by sloka, Bhagavad Gita... as taught by Srivatsa Ramaswami (Guest post)

Thank you to my friends Chiara and Oscar for agreeing to share their thoughts on Ramaswami's recent (almost two week sloka by sloka Bhagavad Gita Intensive with Srivatsa Ramaswami.

My Srivatsa Ramaswami resource page 

Ramaswami recommended the Annie Besant version for the course, which can be downloaded free from the internet.


I just checked, nothing on Ramaswami's event page ( on another upcoming Gita course as yet but these two might be of interest.

July 28, 2018 to  Aug 4,2018 Samkhya Karika and Yoga Sutras (20hrs each) Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA Venue:
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles

14-Sep-2018- 16-Sep-2018 YOGA-YÃJÑAVALKYA

The Chicago Yoga Center
Address: 3047 N Lincoln Ave #20 • Chicago, IL 60657 • USA
Map: Google Contact: Suddha Weixler

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

NEW KPJAY SHALA (K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Shala) Authorised Teachers Page

This post will end up as an update on my Ashtanga Authorisation 1980s to present post and page.

The new KPJAYI (not the list is up. 

There seems to be some consternation that this list, while reinstalling many of the names clumsily removed by Sharath, is at least one year old. 

If it's the case that Sharath wasn't a director, as is being suggested ( we need actual confirmation of this from Saraswati), but merely an employee, then the list, all the names on it and the fees received surely belong to the KPJAYI, having the original link to direct to is, I imagine, misappropriation. 

Sharath is surely legally bound to release all information regarding teachers he has authorised on behalf of the KPJAYI and thus allow them to update the list ( that's probably still the case if he was a director) and remove the redirect from to 

Generally it's good practice to stay out of the way of families as much as possible and allow them to sort things out in their own time. Sharath and Saraswati still seem to be able to work together at some level, Sharath taught for a couple of months at the shala last year and is supposedly teaching there this June, nobody (except perhaps Manju) seems to be prepared to relinquish the income Sharath is able to generate at this time by teaching at the shala. 

If Sharath and those seeking to publicise him were to stop using the, what many consider,  offensive and hubristic 'Paramaguru' title, that seems to have been acquired through promoting tourism more than anything else and, along with the financial aspect, perhaps one of the main reasons tension division and defensiveness have coming to a head.

If Sharath intends to go his own way with (the appropriation of the Jois name rather than his own family name is another question altogether) then I perhaps he needs to be starting from scratch and ‘authorise’ teachers in his own name rather than in that of the KPJAYI, it's messy. 

There are more than enough lawyers in Ashtanga to confirm if this is the case. 

No doubt many teachers, who consider Sharath their teacher will prefer to be on the list rather than the KPJAYI list. 

This is one reason I've supported the list and championed the idea of a non profit foundation, perhaps along the lines of the KYM ( Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram) with a public audit

The Ashtanga Yoga Confluence last week did a good job I thought of dismissing lists altogether (I'm hoping to transcribe some of the comments from Richard, David, Dena, Tim and Manju if no videos appear sharable on YouTube) but also of showing how hurtful it was to be removed, a betrayal of the decades of devotion and dedication to practice and the passing along of the practice as well as the personal blessing of KPJ. 

See this post for the backstory.


I'm not an Ashtanga teacher, recently I'm not even sure I'm an 'Ashtanga' (in the sense of a postural method) practitioner, so jaded have I become of late. I'm blogging here, as I have done for ten years as an outsider, a distant observer and a mostly cynical, and yet curiously also idealistic, home practitioner.  For a perspective from someone 'inside' with much to say that I agree and struggle with, try here

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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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