I have decided to make digital what has existed for a long time now as scattered entries in a tattered white notebook. Initially, I dedicated this particular notebook to what I considered matters of my own spiritual seeking. However, as I jotted down notes after a particularly interesting asana practice, or it accompanied me to workshops, or as texts I read began to blur the lines between the “metaphysical subtle body” and “empirical western physiology”, the types of things that ended up in this one little notebook surprised me.
I ask that the reader view what follows as notes from my personal path utilizing the system of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and not an attempt at any sort of definitive treatise on the subject. It is only that I have considered it possible that to some rare individual it might function as either an introduction to a newcomer or an aid to a seasoned practitioner.
This series of articles is by no means comprehensive in its current state as it is continually undergoing additions and revisions by my self. Some sections bear titles but no text and other sections contain arbitrarily placed text. Please bear with me as I struggle to formulate a structure for this information that attempts to outline a subject as impossibly vast as Yoga.
As my personal practice matures and I spend more and more time with the old texts, I get the overwhelming sense that an attempt to put any of it into words is a futile task either for lack of my own understanding or the inevitability of misinterpretation. Or that it is constraining to the subject matter and therefore almost certain to miss the mark. But then again, it is thanks to the contributions of many individuals, each with their unique perspectives and of varied temperaments, that the paths which perhaps seem commonplace to us today exist at all.
Yoga is a living science in that it takes individuals to tint the more superficial facets individualistically, culturally, and archetypally in order to maintain its relevance in the present. It is exactly this acknowledgment of the variety of human experience that begets the systems and the breadth of their wisdom that is perceived, understood, embodied, spoken, and more recently written by individuals through the centuries for the spiritual sake of all beings.
I have tried my absolute best to present the following information in a way that considers multiple perspectives where necessary, but please be aware that no such claim has been made to imply that all personal bias has been suppressed throughout even though it is in my nature to be objective as possible.
I owe a great deal of thanks to many people. To my teachers Noah Williams, Art Lande, Ty Landrum, Mary Taylor, Juan Anguiano, Rajib Karmakar and Al Gardner, you have been patient with me, shared what I know meant a great deal to yourselves, and challenged my conditioning in the kindest ways. My view of the possibilities would have been so limited without you. To my mother I owe everything. You will forever represent the baseline for unconditional love in my life. My father, I see you in myself more and more each day and would be fulfilled to become a fraction of the person you were. I miss you. To my stepfather, thank you for trusting my ability to see right from wrong even if only after a mistake. Your immovable nature is something I continue to strive for. The countless friends who I have been blessed to have in my life, thank you for giving me an ear to listen, a shoulder to weep on, grace through my shortcomings, and the satisfaction of knowing I am loved. It has always been my aim to reciprocate what I have been given.
It is with great humility and in simple hopes of being but a conduit that I present this material.
With gratitude, Ryan