'...David Garrigues talked about balancing the energies that can arise -- tamasic, potentially, if you go too slow; rajasic, if too fast. Instead of a "correct" answer, it's about the individual paying attention to the energy he/she is creating with the breath.").'
And that's that. If your present rate of breathing in your practice is causing you to become restless/rajasic for the rest of the day, then you need to lengthen your breaths. If your present rate of breathing is causing you to become lethargic/tamasic, then you need to shorten your breaths. Simple, right? Again, many apologies to Grimmly for being such a wet blanket here; I would probably be pretty pissed myself if other people were to throw a similar wet blanket on conversations that I started. But well, it is what it is...
Fortunately, Claudia has rescued me from my state of blogging malaise with her most recent post, in which she addresses a reader's question about whether any studio should train Ashtanga yoga teachers.
Just so it is clear that we are talking about the same thing, by "Ashtanga", I mean "Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga", i.e. the practice that I (and hopefully, you) have come to love, and of which I am a self-declared Fundamentalist.
So... should any studio be offering teacher training to train Ashtanga yoga teachers? In a way, the issue is moot. As we know, KPJAYI has explicitly stated that it is the only body that has the authority to authorize teachers of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (whether you agree with KPJAYI or not is another story...). But this has not stopped studios all over the world from offering teacher trainings that purport to train people to be able to teach Ashtanga competently. Just the other day, in fact, I actually ran into a couple of people here in Minnesota who are doing a yoga teacher training. When I asked them what style they are being trained to teach, they said, "Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga." I thought about starting a debate with them about why they believe that their teacher trainer is qualified to teach them to teach Ashtanga, but decided against it. First of all, such a conversation would violate the doctrine of Minnesota Nice. Moreover, there's just something about this culture of niceness that prevails in the yoga world (see this post) that makes it difficult for anybody to initiate a debate in a real-life yoga conversation. So I left it at that.
So maybe the more interesting question would be: Is there any place for yoga teacher trainings within an Ashtanga studio? I recently learned that a certified Ashtanga teacher whom I greatly respect will be starting a teacher training program in her studio beginning from next year (I think Claudia mentions some such thing in her post as well; I wonder if we're talking about the same teacher/studio?). When I learned about this development from this teacher's Facebook page, I immediately emailed her and asked her what her reason was for doing this, given that Sharath has quite explicitly stated that only KPJAYI has the authority to authorize teachers to teach Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
Damn! I really am becoming the Ashtanga Police, aren't I? :-) To my pleasant surprise, this teacher took a generous amount of her time to write a lengthy reply to my email. In her reply, she explained that although only KPJAYI has the official authority to authorize teachers of Ashtanga, the fact is that many capable students at her studio who wanted to become teachers were searching all over the city for yoga teacher training (TT) programs. Rather than have them take a Power Yoga TT or a TT from some other style of yoga, she decided that it would be better for her to offer them an in-house TT program; this way, she can at least have some control over what they are learning and how they are learning it, so that they won't go around the city teaching Ashtanga and saying that she has trained them to teach a particular way when she hasn't. She also hopes that at least one or two of the graduates from her TT will be able to help her teach an Intro to Ashtanga class that she is planning to set up at her studio.
In addition, she also emphasizes that this TT she is offering is by no means a substitute for going to Mysore, and that she agrees with KPJAYI that if somebody wants to teach Ashtanga in the traditional way(as in teach Mysore style, beyond the Introductory class level), they have to make the trip to KPJAYI.
I think this teacher (I have this feeling that many of you probably know who she is) is adopting a very wise policy, and I agree with what she is doing. So, to answer the question above: Yes, there is a limited role that TTs can play within an Ashtanga studio: They can supplement and support, but do not replace the trip to KPJAYI.
In other news: Did you hear that there are a bunch of people in Texas (more than 60,000 people, actually) who want the Lone Star State to secede from the United States? Crazy, right? Well, at least I think it's crazy...
Well, if this were to happen, those of you who are reading this blog from Texas will soon be reading this blog from outside the United States! Bizarre, no? And if I want to go to Texas, I will then need to have a passport! Woah...
But seriously, I hope this won't happen. Texas actually hold some beautiful memories for me. It was actually the first place I lived in in this country; I was an exchange student at UT Austin in the fall of '99, and benefited much from and learned much from the hospitality of the people in the capital of the Lone Star State. So... well, I guess you can consider this post to be my unofficial non-endorsement of the secession of Texas from the Union! Not that anybody would care about my opinion one way or the other, but I thought I'd take a stand anyway. Damn! If I keep talking politics on this blog, I'll soon have to rename this blog Yoga and Politics in the Dragon's Den. Truthfully, this doesn't sound half as catchy as Yoga in the Dragon's Den.