Here you can find some thoughts from Terje and Jocke.
"we respect the tradition... but bend the rules!" :)
"we understand that yoga is a part of life, it's not the goal of life."
"we agree that it is 99% practice and ... let's go even further... 100% practice."
"we think binding marichyasana D is not the biggest issue in life."
"we think deep conscious breathing is very important."
"we really, really do."
we think the world should be full of yoga teachers with
a common sense,
and an open mind...
feet on the ground,
and a smile in their heart.
Since we started teaching Ashtanga Yoga in January 2007, we have been following the community very closely. We started teaching by ourselves, but quite soon where included in the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute led by Lino Miele. Thank you Lino for including us in your school. For our surprise we soon noticed that this community of yogis around the world is not as united as we thought. There was (and still is) an unfortunate negativity and competition between different teachers.
After Guruji died, the separation between the "old and new generation" became very clear.
Ashtanga Monkey Academy do not follow either of these two main "lines". We respect all the teachers who have helped us in our individual journeys, no matter what their teaching is. We are not part of the research institute led by Lino anymore, but we are also not part of the schools led by Sharath (Rangaswamy) Jois. We are building our own "family" of yogis and we are inviting anyone interested to join us. Our values are playfulness, creativity, authenticity and freedom; and these values should be evident in all of our actions and communication. So if the paragraph above felt negative, we're sorry, that was not our intention.
Our approach to Ashtanga Yoga
Like you can see from the quotes on the top of this page, we have a little softer approach to the practice than maybe some, and it's also a little different from how we used to do it ourselves. In ten years people change. :) We respect the system Guruji created but we bend the rules. An example of this is the intermediate series. Traditionally the intermediate series can be started after the student is able to do the full primary series properly. This means that most people will never be able to practice intermediate series. The primary series is mostly forward bendings and hip openings, the intermediate series has a lot of back bendings and strength. If you want to have a balanced practice, we think it is good to have both. In our Ashtanga Monkey school we teach an easy version of the intermediate series (poses from the beginning part of the sequence) with some minor modifications on the more challenging poses, to all students. Traditionally this is not accepted in Ashtanga Yoga and I (Jocke) used to be against this type of approach myself, but like I said, people change. If you do not agree with it, we respect that. Follow your truth and be free.
Even if our approach is a little different from the traditional approach we were teaching for the past ten years, we still understand and even teach some aspects of it. We are not teaching a "mind yoga" approach, which means that we don't overly analyse the system. We know from our own experience that the breath is the key to yoga and this is something we probably emphasise even more than before. Slow even breath has a strong effect on the body, mind and even the heart, making it the core of our teaching. Slow down, breathe, move and smile within.
Yoga for us is a tool. It's not the end goal. We both have more than a decade worth of experience using this tool (and almost 40 years of active movement - 20 years professionally). We like this tool because it's practical and it works very well. If you want to learn it with us, we are more than happy to teach you.
More thoughts about the practice in Jocke's blog page.