Final installment of Donavan Wilson’s interview with Kino MacGregor. Photos are provided from Kino MacGregor’s website. Contact Donavan at dwilson95 AT gmail_com.
The American Yoga Scene
“I loved how many people are doing yoga today,” commented Kino as she offered her perspective on the direction of American yoga. “I think it’s great. What is really inspiring is how dedicated people are, not only in the U.S. but all over the world and how many people are getting turned on to it. The most inspirational thing about the American Yoga community is its embrace of yoga as lifestyle,” she said. “Also, what else that is exciting is the generation of children born into Yoga families and who have the exposure to a lifestyle committed to inner peace at an early age.” Continue reading Kino MacGregor: Passion on the Mat – Part IV→
The great master guru Shri K. Pattabhi Jois has been hospitalized, according to the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute. His son, Sharath, who was a guest teacher in the United States, has been called home so it must be serious. Last year, Pattabhi Jois had to postpone a scheduled trip to inaugurate a yoga training center in Florida. He is going to be 94 in July.
At the workshop this past weekend, Beryl Bender Birch drew a picture that caught my imagination. Back in the days of the Palace of Mysore when the trio of future gurus of classical yoga (T.K.V. Desikachar, B.K.S. Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois) were studying under Krisnamacharya, the father of hatha yoga (it’s his 1938 video to the right), the Maharaja of Mysore was also patron to Western gymnastics that was brought to India by the British colonial regime. The two groups of students stood at opposite sites of the courtyard that served as classroom, copying techniques from each other. She said that a lot of the sequencing of vinyasa come from that cultural cross-pollination. It struck me as ironic that the East-West convergence influenced the formation of classic yoga. And today you’re getting another round of convergence as yoga meshes with American (and other Western) culture.
Rebecca Mead writes the New Yorker [Mead’s personal website has disappeared; track her down at the New Yorker]: “Ashtanga is hard-core yoga; and Pattabhi Jois’s school in Mysore is for those practitioners who are at the crystalline center of the hard core. Ashtanga, like any institution, has a sharply defined hierarchy, and getting your training from Jois himself has a status rather like that, among early psychoanalysts, of having been treated by Freud. Beginning in the sixties and seventies, Jois instructed a trickle of Westerners who made it to Mysore, and they spread his teachings back home, prompting more followers to make the pilgrimage. In the past several years, yoga has become widespread in the American mainstream, and Ashtanga has experienced a corresponding boom: these days, Jois often has as many as eighty students from the West studying with him, paying around five hundred dollars a month for the privilege. In India, where the annual per-capita income is less than four hundred dollars, this makes him a wealthy man. He is the engine of any number of local businesses–inns, restaurants, Internet-access outlets–that have sprung up to accommodate the tastes and needs of all the spirituality-seeking Westerners flocking to the city to absorb his wisdom.”
Rebecca Mead wrote this article for the August 14, 2000 issue so it is already dated in many respects. Four months later, she penned another significant New Yorker article about weblogs [link no longer available]. It put blogging “on the map.” This kind of literary archaeology is interesting, because it informs the present. The article’s precursor of the Kadetsky book mentioned below. This kind of social commentary is a New Yorker trademark. To show that she can be ecumenical in apply her wit to yoga styles, she also wrote about Birkam Choudhury: Calling all heat-seeking New Yorkers [link no longer available] about the same time.