A few weeks ago, a local yoga studio owner posted a comment on social media that made me think. Until today, I haven’t had time to revisit the film she mentioned, Breath of the Gods, which is a documentary about Krishnamacharya and the origins of modern yoga.
Sadly, the Indianapolis Star didn’t post my interview with the fantastic Kino MacGregor online. I’ll have to scan a hard copy and post it here. Until then, let me share our post-workshop conversation with you.
After flying into Indianapolis from Miami (on the day of the Monumental Marathon, AKA Crazy Traffic Day) teaching two two-hour workshops, practicing, signing dozens of books and posing for dozens of pictures, Kino MacGregor was still smiling and full of energy. Continue reading “A (second) Conversation with Kino MacGregor” »
Ashtangis don’t practice to music. Music in the yoga room pulls me away from my breath and the internal experience of practice. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy music. In fact, I love it. When I’m not practicing, I almost constantly have music on in the background. I listen to everything from bluegrass to black metal, and I love it all. I even used to be a music writer for NUVO.
I was getting ready to walk into a vinyasa class, wearing short shorts, as I am wont to do occasionally. A fellow yogi and friend (non-Ashtanga) complimented me on the tattoo on my leg, and then said, “A lot of Ashtangis have leg tattoos. Or maybe I just notice it more because you guys wear the short shorts all the time.”
Yoga wasn’t always an array of beautiful white bodies in expensive clothes with limbs that bend into complicated poses. It has a muddled history that began in a decisively brown-skinned world before its appropriation by westerners and eventual viral spread throughout the western world.Possible evidence of yogic practices was found as early as 2500 BCE in the form of a seal featuring what some consider to be a prototype of Lord Shiva in a yoga pose, and textual references to yoga began to appear around 300 BCE, but they described a moral and philosophical practice instead of the physical postures that are so pervasive on Instagram and YouTube. Hatha Yoga, the first arm of yoga to include those physical postures, didn’t manifest until the 1400’s and is chronicled in detail in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the better-known classical texts on yoga.
The “proto-Shiva” seal credited as evidence of yoga’s ancient roots. Image credit: Elephant Journal