Ashtanga Maniac

22219_658755547026_1708185444_n                                                                                 Classic DG moment 

The other night  I asked one of my fellow students here in Kovalam how he first learned about David Garrigues. 

David is a super special teacher, totally unlike all the other Ashtanga teachers I’ve met so far. He attracts really interesting and driven students. It takes a certain type of person to fly around the world to India for a month of getting up early and making funny shapes with your body with an intense teacher like DG. It’s definitely not a vacation, despite the pretty beach.

This particular student with whom I was speaking is from Argentina. He had discovered David’s videos on YouTube and so decided to come all the way to Kerala to meet him.

The part of this conversation that was so awesome was when my new friend said basically…

“In my country we have this word – blank (I can’t remember exactly what it was) – it means ‘this man is very sick, but in a good way’. When I saw David teach in the video I thought, he is a maniac! Obsessive and in love with Ashtanga Yoga. You can tell, he thinks about yoga, all day and all night. Total maniac!!”

For those of you who know DG, you are probably giggling right now, just as I was at this moment. This statement pretty much sums up David.

He teaches with a fiery passion and love for this practice. Every practice is approached with an insatiable curiosity and a burning desire to know more and go deeper. This is clear by the way he teaches and the way he shares the practice with others. Even when he instructs us in Led Primary, he is simultaneously writing notes in his journal and reflections about the practice and path of Ashtanga Yoga.

To fully commit to this practice, you have to be kind of crazy. If not, why would you do it? Seriously, it’s hard and painful. It confronts you constantly with your weaknesses, your fears and your vices and it forces you do either face them head-on or run away like a scaredy cat. But you’re crazy, you don’t want to run away! You do, but you don’t, and more accurately – you can’t! There’s too much magic there to resist. Too much wonder and beauty to ignore.

Ignorance was bliss, I remember it fondly. Once you step foot down a path of truth and self-discovery, you really can’t go back to the beginning, even if you want to.

David often says, you have to engage in the practice not out of duty, but from a place of deep love.

Love is good with me and I’m okay with being crazy. In fact, that is not a new or foreign moniker for me.

I remember as a wild and reckless early teen reading “On the Road”. I remember reading this one passage and feeling all the voices in my head shout out in unison – YES!!!

To this day, I still feel the same….

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

– Jack Kerouac

God Bless you fellow crazies. I’ll see you tomorrow on the cosmic Mysore rug.




8 thoughts on “Ashtanga Maniac

  1. I can’t help feeling that the yoga you and those in India strive for is not the yoga that I love. The yoga that I loves, ask to get the body out of the way. Therefor yoga is not about the body, it is about the being. I love my yoga it feeds me, and gently pushes me.
    OM, m

    • Hi M.
      There are many different yogic paths, just as there are many different types of people in the world. That’s a good thing!
      One of the most common misconceptions about Ashtanga Yoga is that it is solely focused on the body. When in fact to learn and grow in this practice, accessing the subtler aspects, working with prana and apana vayu and the nadis themselves is truly imperative. Astanga is Tantric in the sense that it uses the body to transcend the body, to transcend the false identifications with the material and illusory. You are right that yoga is not about the body, just as we are not our body or our thoughts. We are not any of these transitory states of being or form. The eternal wisdom of yoga is that it illuminates our true and unchanging Self – the Sat-Cit-Ananda.
      All this is to say, what you love about yoga is not so distant from what I love too.
      Thank you for reading and for your comment.

  2. LOVE the picture! And that’s always been one of my favorite Jack Kerouac quotes – you need to be able to lose yourself in something, in the lila of life, for it all to mean anything. Namaste!

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