Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Govinda Kai talks about Ashtanga Yoga

I just watched the above interview with Govinda Kai at Laruga's. I am really fascinated by the way Kai talks about the practice in such a natural and authentic way. Here are a couple of things he says that really speak to me: 

(1) From around 3:18--4:14, Kai says (I am paraphrasing), "Anything in life that is very powerful is also a source of misunderstanding and conflict. This is true of religion, sex, money or politics. It is also true of Ashtanga Yoga. If you only have a superficial understanding of it, it looks confusing at the very best, and destructive at the very worst."

(2) As with anything with great power, Ashtanga Yoga is not for everybody. As I understand it, Kai does not mean this in any elitist sense: There is nothing special or superior about Ashtangis as compared to everybody else. I suppose we can think of Ashtanga Yoga as a very specialized tool for attaining greater self-awareness and, eventually, self-realization. But being the highly specialized tool that it is, it may only be suitable for people with certain inclinations, or with a particular disposition or bent of mind.


  1. Well, Nobel, I've attended one of Govinda's workshop. His understanding of yoga is particular. He injures people and later on he explains it was to break their psyche...He repeats Patthabi used to injure people and he'll carry on with this and those who don't understand that pain is part of yoga don't understand yoga. Sorry, but my understanding of yoga is totally different :)

    Jorgen Leth

    1. Oh, I didn't know this about Govinda's teaching style... interesting. Well, this makes me think I should attend one of his workshops, just to get a sense of what you are saying ;-)