‘Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.’
I never appreciated the name my mother gave me until I found yoga. Ananda means bliss in Sanskrit, my name fits the sentiment of the path that became central to my life in the year 2000. In the pursuit of liberation, I continually deconstruct and reconstruct myself through the practices of yoga.
] I have completed the Primary, Intermediate and Advanced A sequences and I am in the process of unravelling Advanced B. I received level II authorisation to teach the Ashtanga Yoga method by Sharath Jois in Mysore India in 2014. Since then, much has changed in the world, within me, and within the ashtanga yoga community. Whilst I am mindful of respecting and honouring the lineage of ashtanga yoga and the so called ‘correct method’ I am not endorsed by anyone’s ‘list’, and neither do I represent anyone who has a ‘list’. I stand for the integrity of the teachings rather than a particular teacher.
My teaching approach is inclusive and evolutionary, focused on the individual. I am intrigued by the connections between the physical/psychological/emotional body and yoga as somatic therapy. If a yoga practice is to be illuminating and transformative, it requires discipline and a container. As we knock up against the container we see our habitual psycho-emotional responses and with daily practise we can work with them to become more conscious and intentional. When we know, understand, and accept the different parts of ourselves we can do the same for others.
As a facilitator of this practice, I walk the line between maintaining the container whilst being mindful to look for the unique entry point for each individual. Accessibility and healthy movement patterns are important if we wish to cultivate a practice that can sustain us through the different life stages. Ashtanga Yoga is a self-practice, taught one to one in a group setting, in a quiet space. The quietness of the practice encourages personal connection and reverence to the mysterious and the unknown, through the ordinariness of everyday.
I give thanks the seekers and teachers who have lit the path for me, and to the South Asian community for the richness of their wisdom traditions. I am forever a student and it is an honour for me to share this deeply transformative practice with you.
The ashtanga yoga asana sequence comes from the lineage of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, before being developed and brought to the West, by the Jois family. It is a moving sequence that links postures together, designed to warm the blood, cleanse the organs, and restore the nervous system. It helps us to feel focused, calm and content. It’s name is inspired by Patanjali’s āstau (8) aṅga (limbs) of yoga, an eightfold pathway of practices, disciplines and ethics. Patanjali recommends it as an entry point for those with a distracted mind to work towards cultivating the stillness and discipline needed for the deeper practices of yoga. The ashtanga yoga asana sequence is underpinned by the system of tristhana – a three point system of concentration that over time moves the practitioner, from the gross physical bodies toward the subtle energetic, wisdom bodies. Ashtanga yoga was designed to be taught individually, taking into consideration each person’s psycho/social/physical experience. As a teacher of ashtanga yoga, I look for the best entry point for each student and build the practice at a pace and level that suits them. This way of teaching and learning is colloquially known as ‘Mysore style’. It is a one to one teaching approach that makes it accessible to all body types and conditions, allowing for a diverse group of practitioners to come together as one inclusive community. Whatever your age, body type, or constitution I will meet you where you are and together we will find your practice, a practice that over time you will internalise and memorise, until it becomes part of you.