It was an experience to remember for all! For a wonderful few days we came together to honor K. Pattabhi Jois and to celebrate the joy, diversity and beauty that are Ashtanga Yoga.
Eddie Stern opened the event with a colorful puja for Ganesh that brought us all together on the lush landscaped lawns by the bay while the sun made it’s way below the horizon.
The next day began with early morning practice sessions. There was a natural harmonious flow during these classes with the mature and experienced eyes of the assembled teachers there to assist and advise the students where needed. It was a wonderfully diverse group representing all levels of practitioner from those very new to Ashtanga as well as seasoned veterans of the practice.
For the 5 teachers: Nancy Gilgoff, Tim Miller, Richard Freeman, Eddie Stern and myself plus an equal number of assistants: Mary Taylor, Leah Nicole, Johnny Smith, Noah Williams and my wife Shelley Washington, we all felt Guruji’s presence within the energy and breath during the practice sessions as well as a glimpse into a portion of the heritage he left behind in the form of words, thoughts and remembrances shared during the panel discussions.
Many participants commented that they enjoyed the panel discussions the most of all. I personally felt so honored to be there listening to the other teachers, my friends, expounding upon the depth of their understandings of the practice, philosophy and life-tools gained from their decades of practice. It was a testament to the power of the system and also to the underlying thread of breath that connects us all. There were certainly differences of opinions on some topics but there was also a deep and resounding respect for each other. It was an important moment to acknowledge differences, accept changes and revel in the common love, respect and inspiration we each feel for each other and Ashtanga Yoga as a lifelong journey and valuable tool that we are all blessed to have been touched by.