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Yoga Guruji vs Mr. Myagi

April 7, 2012 Posted by Jen Eddins Blog

Krishna Pattabhi Jois was an Indian yoga teacher who developed the popular and gymnastic style of yoga referred to as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga.

Yoga Guru

No, this is not a question of who would when in a battle royale! (Clearly Guruji’s ujayii breath is too powerful a weapon against any mortal, plus if he got his mulha bandha lock on Mr. Myagi it would be all over…) 😉 What this is about is what they common in how they taught. One was the yoga guru of Ashtanga yoga, and one was a karate master, BUT each taught the fundamentals from the beginning and only when the student was ready did they introduce the advanced techniques. Going along with this analogy I (thought up a week ago) in Ashtanga Yogathere are 6 series, a lot of people spend their whole lives on the 1st, and in fact only 1 person (that I have been told of) even practices the 6th series and that is R Shirath Jois, grandson of Shri K. Patthabi Jois (aka Guruji which is a name given out of respect). In fact very few practice the 4th or 5th ashtanga yoga series either. There is so much to be learned and practiced in the first 3 series for most people that to think about going beyond would be a little silly. Besides Guruji even says “3rd series on: NO BENEFIT”! 😉 [tooltip_parent]

Pop Quiz

Q: How many Karate Kid films were made starring Ralph Macchio?
A: 3 films! (we could only handle so much…if they went to 6, then I think similarly only one person would be willing and able to attend and sit through it…)[/tooltip_tip] 3 and 3?! Coincidence? I think NOT! For those who don’t remember (or weren’t born), the plot of a Karate Kid movie was always the same when it came to how Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel-son. He would give him a rudimentary task like “wax on, wax off” and then would show Daniel-son the applications that had towards advanced techniques. And each movie started out going back to the basics until he was ready.

Wait for it…I’m tying it all in now….kinda

Similarly, Gurji spent MOST of his time teaching yoga asana and very little time teaching the other limbs of Ashtanga Yoga (more advanced yoga techniques). That doesn’t mean that he didn’t teach the other limbs; he did to those that were ready. Guruji knew that in order for a student to be mentally and physically ready for those other techniques they needed to be strong mentally and physicall, AND asana lays down that foundation.

Personally, I don’t say much of anything in my yoga classes other than calling out poses. Occasionally I’ll have some nugget of truthiness to offer (or more often some inappropriate joke to share), but the majority of the time I just say poses. Since I have been teaching I have seen my regulars cry, laugh, and be moved by coming to my classes both mentally and physically. My point in bringing that up is because I don’t say anything but poses, and yet still yoga works it’s magic!

Whether you know it, or believe it, or not: YOGA CHANGES YOU! There are those moments on your mat where you get really quiet and really focused, you narrow your focus and you start to develop an understanding of your own wiring. It’s amazing! Enjoy that process!

Don’t rush the process

There is a reason why trigonometry is not taught to toddlers!  Learn from the masters like Mr. Miyagi and Guruji and “Wax on, Wax off” and “Practice, practice, practice…all will be coming”. Look at Ralph Macchio’s career: just when he thought he wasn’t gonna get ANY further in life, BAM….he lands a small part in My Cousin Vinny! 😉 In yoga we call that samadhi my yogis! Samadhi!

Interview with Patthabi Jois on Yoga


– TB

About Jen Eddins

Jen Eddins is the marketing director for Y2 Yoga, Namastay Kitchen and Savasana Spa & Oasis and a lead teacher for Y2 Yoga. She loves handstands, golden retrievers and spending time in the kitchen.