Ashtanga Flow! A modern approach to a traditional system
Geoffrey Taylor is a highly experienced Ashtangi yogi and is bringing us the wealth of his practice with an upcoming class, Ashtanga Flow, starting April 11th. Check out this interview we did with him to learn a bit more about him and his yoga journey.
Tell us a little bit about how you first discovered Ashtanga Yoga and how long have you been studying & teaching Ashtanga influenced yoga?
I first discovered this form in my home state of AZ in 1996. It came to pass after my mother had given me a book by BKS Iyengar, for which I am forever grateful. Inspired, I went to the local bookstore and found an Ashtanga manual. And that got me practicing. This was a time and a place before the proliferation of Yoga in the U.S. I soon started going to every workshop or training that I could find. In 2001 I started traveling to Maui to study with the amazing community of senior teachers there. I spent the next few years focused on Ashtanga studies and teaching only Primary Series.
Who were some of your teachers that have helped inspire you in the practice?
In AZ, my most formative inspiration was Darren Rhodes. I have had many different teachers over the years and have benefitted most from trainings with Richard Freeman and Tim Miller. The community of authorized teachers in Maui or that came to train there was very large and included Pattabhi Jois's first Western Students. I received so many different perspectives on the same subject that I eventually began to synthesize the principals, balance the system biomechanically, try to organize the non-traditional modifications from senior teachers, and include new valid info.
What can we expect from your Ashtanga Flow classes?
A Vinyasa practice that is based on primary series, yet with a more gradual warm-up, less repetition in certain ranges of motion, more pose variation, and all the while not straying too far from the traditional Ashtanga approach. We will not be waiting a lifetime to master primary series, the other ranges of motion are important now, and we will be learning the most effective ways to cycle them in. Poses from 2nd and other series will be included throughout the week, we will be balancing the imbalanced aspects of the traditional system, and you don't have to know anything about Ashtanga to start.
What has been the most important teaching that you have taken from this style of practice?
The most important teaching at first was keep trying, not to strike a fancy pose but to reap the immediate health and related benefits of daily Yoga practice. Ashtanga has a tradition of starting with a physical practice that, as a matter of technique, expands into a spiritual practice. The energetics for this are inherent in the choreography. This teaching philosophy leads a practitioner from effort to realization, which is a common goal among Yoga disciplines.
You can check out Geoffrey's classes now on Tuesday & Thursday at 9:30am for Hive Flow and starting April 11th, Ashtanga Flow on Mondays & Wednesdays at 6:00-7:30am and Saturdays at 7:30-9:00am.
"Ashtanga Flow uses both traditional and non-traditional practices to create a modern approach to the teachings of the Ashtanga system. Weaving the practice through primary, secondary series and beyond along with mantra, mudra, bandha, and drishti, this class will deepen, define, & strengthen your yoga practice. Rise early, flow, sweat, align, rejuvenate, breathe deep, and expand your practice."