Dispelling Three Myths about Ashtanga
by Melanie Fawer
1.You must have a background in yoga.
In Mysore, India in 1994, I showed up at the doorstep of Sri Pattahbi Jois. I knew nothing about Ashtanga. Pattahbi Jois did not care. He opened his heart to me and started me as a beginner. Over the 15 years I was blessed to work with Pattabhi Jois, I saw him tailor the practice to the needs of each individual and all students at Ashtanga Yoga Room receive the same benefit and respect.
2. You must be young and in great shape.
One of Pattahbi Jois’ favorite sayings was, “Yoga is for everyone except the lazy.” In other words, anyone who is willing to “meet the mat” is welcome at Ashtanga Yoga Room, no matter their age or physical limitations. I have worked with students well into their 90s. The practice might be different than for someone in their 20s, but the principles are the same and the benefits are the same.
3. There is no instruction from teachers.
Ashtanga yoga offers the most direct teacher-student relationship among any form of yoga in the U.S. As Pattahbi Jois used to say, “One by one, you take.” In other words, you are instructed individually by the teacher, one movement at a time, one breath at a time, one posture at a time. Day by day, your practice grows with that same teacher always monitoring your growth and progress.