Friday Discussion – Awakening through Ashtanga Yoga with Mary Taylor

Excerpt from an interview with Mary Taylor, where she describes her own experience of the ashtanga practice to a wide audience (not especially ashtangi):

” What I’ve experienced through the practice with ashtanga is that the mind’s tendency to do that [… to jump from one thought to another…] is given space within which to do that and yet you don’t run off into the realms of imagination with the thoughts that arise. It’s almost as though there is a background of sound – which is the breath – and then there is a background of thought – that sort of is this ongoing thought pattern – but because you’re moving and you’re focusing, on some other level of mind, on moving smoothly with the sound of the breath and keeping the gaze steady, the thoughts sort of sort themselves out, and are almost like just a background of sensation, just like the breath is and just like the movements are.”

Topics explored in the podcast: Ashtanga Yoga as a practice of self transformation. Showing up for your practice; the need to be honest with ourselves. Reconciling Eastern, Western Perspectives. Holding paradoxical points of view. How Psychology, and the ego, differs in Eastern and Western worldviews. The importance of ritual. And more…

What happens now…

The sad news that Anne Finstad had resigned from teaching at YiY has reached probably most of you by now. It was very unexpected and we were all shocked and confused. As much as I am sad that she decided to leave the program I understand her position and respect her decision. I will miss teaching with her a lot. It was a great and smooth collaboration. She was doing tremendous job leading the Mysore program. Thank you, Anne! You will be truly missed at YiY.


I am sure that many of you are wondering what the future of our program is going to be. I want to assure you that the whole YiY team of teachers and assistants is working on making the transition as smooth as possible.


This brings us to some changes that will have to take place. Because currently I can’t teach much more than I have been doing I asked the other YiY teachers and assistants for help. For now, I will be teaching Tuesday and Thursday as before but I asked Thoa for help. She kindly agreed to assist me on those days. She has a long-time experience teaching and assisting and it is time to use her talent. I will also add Sunday to my schedule that I will co-teach with Dave. In some occasions, Philippe will be helping us as well.


Our amazing Anne Namur instead of assisting will be teaching Monday morning. The power team Anne and Meghan will teach on Wednesday. Welcome back Meghan! Please give them the respect they deserve.

Philippe will continue doing what he does the best, teach led class on Friday morning and he also agreed to step in whenever we are short-handed.


With Sabina’s help I am taking over some of the administrative job of running the Mysore program (like writing this kind of post. That is hard work!) If you have any questions related to the practice please contact me if anything else Sabina is there to help you.


Other than that, nothing changes. You will be still greeted at the entrance by our dear Stu. The cup of chai will be waiting for you after the practice as well as the nice chat with the fellow practitioner if you wish.


As much as we all will miss Anne there is nothing else to do but just do our practice. Because it is the practice that is our true teacher.


I will see you on the mat.


Friday Discussion – Gregor Maehle on Modern Yoga. What it is and what it could be.

In this recent video, Gregor Maehle talks about how yoga has become more competitive, image-based, and superficial due mainly to the rise of social media and how the spiritual aspect of yoga is getting lost.
Excerpt from the interview:
“The yoga is about creating an internal frame of reference. What makes people sick, in the way our society makes people sick, is that we constantly have an external frame of reference….The reason why it’s outside is because there is a desert inside. We don’t know ourselves, we don’t love ourselves, we don’t accept ourselves. That’s why we need to look good. There is nothing against looking good but the idea of yoga is that growth comes from the inside, because you can find freedom, self love, self acceptance, and peace.”

Sutra Discussion Group Sunday February 11

We are gathering for our monthly discussion on Sunday February 11 at 10:00 at 336 W Dana St, 94041, until 11:30. Bring your translations as usual.

We plan to discuss sutra 2.26:

viveka khyatih aviplava hana upayah

The constant, unbroken awareness of this truth alone is the means to the ending of this ignorance and its retinue. Translation and interpretation by Swami Venkatesananda

The means of [attaining] cessation is the unceasing vision of discernment. Translation by Georg Feuerstein

Addressing the recent post by Anne

First of all, it is as shocking to Joseph and I, and the other teachers, as it is to all of you. This was not something that was discussed and got out of control. This is out of the blue.

The last time I spoke with Anne was Thursday, January 25, and I didn’t get an impression that something was seriously wrong.
I’m not certain I understand what “men” and “management” means and “overriding”.

I am sure this was not an easy post for Anne to post, and we send her our love and compassion.

Joseph and I are open for any questions. And as Anne said, we will continue practicing ashtanga.

Joseph and Sabina

My letter of resignation

I respectfully resign as a teacher at Yoga is Youth. I have served this practice and tradition for many years. with great joy for many of those years.

I am quite sorry that I have reached the end of my time in such a sudden fashion.  I have heard of this happening in the past to other teachers and it did well seem imaginable, if you know what one faces in teaching. Still, I do feel I owe the community an explaination.

I have been quite lucky that the management and other teachers at Yoga is Youth have supported me as a female, as a person, and as a teacher the majority of the time. The only exception to that came when the men in management decided to override the judgment of the women.

Now, with a Pattabhi Jois scandal at hand, centering around whether Pattabhi may have inappropriately touched some women a long time ago, a discussion is being called for, not by the women teachers at our studio, but the men. You could say, oh, how wonderful, they want to address justice for all women, justice for all. That would be lovely if they had not overridden our female judgement as holders of lineage when they didn’t feel we had properly addressed the issue.

Why do I bring this up? In its own funny way I would like to illustrate a point. It isn’t probably what you would expect. In these scandals, there is right, and there is wrong. Women who have been abused deserve to have their voices heard. No one gets to tell them they didn’t experience what they have experienced.

However, there are always going to be people who will take advantage of the situation at hand. In this case, and not only at YIY, you can see people who will use this drama as an excuse to tear the tradition itself down.

As someone recently said, “I’m all for #me too, I’m just not for the McCarthyism version.”

I am not experiencing this discussion as a balancing of right and wrong, or a healing of trauma. I am experiencing it as someone taking advantage of the situation at hand to bring about their own agenda. I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t feel that I have been targeted, multiple times, and had my judgment questioned not just about this, but about calls on the floor, about the structure of the lineage, etc. I took it to the management, and it was still allowed to happen. There were times in the past where I didn’t have a choice, I couldn’t leave, and today I can leave.

To me a person can’t call for that discussion when acting in this fashion. It isn’t consistent or right.

So what is my overriding point? I actually want folks to keep practicing yoga, and especially Ashtanga Yoga. I don’t feel anyone needs to leave the studio, I just feel it is my own Dharma to do so, and ask people to be thoughtful about why I left. I think people should keep doing their practice, practicing compassion, and Ashtanga Yoga. To hear the voices of people who have suffered, but not engage in the bullying that one can see following. And don’t fall for folks who would use this as an excuse to take down the model, I still believe in the model, it has never done anything but empower and inspire me, as a person and as a woman. That should count for something. And it is a truth that I know I share with many, many, women and especially female teachers.

We are all complicated. We all have complicated motivations. We are on an ongoing journey as we practice, to begin to better understand ourselves and others. Understanding is good. Anger is sometimes needed.  And one day, when you are there, and you are ready, forgiveness, too.

I will also fully acknowledge this wouldn’t have come about if I wasn’t also tired and in real need of a hiatus. This has just forced the issue. I will continue to teach privately, and folks are welcome to contact me, but this experience has brought me to the end of my service to the community now.

My deepest regards to you all.