(English) Ashtanga yoga and the Alexander Technique

An Alexander Teacher’s reflections on Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in the tradition
of Pattabhi Jois
In this essay I describe how to teach the basics of the Alexander Technique in a way that would be
approachable to a student of ashtanga yoga. Yoga, especially ashtanga, has become a popular
pastime (Singleton, 2010, p.211) and my questioning of the teachers of the Alexander Teacher
Training School reflected that popularity. All of them told, they had pupils who were involved with
yoga, while some had negative experiences of working with yoga teachers. I will point out
similarities and differences between the two disciplines, with a purpose of providing tools of
communication to Alexander Teachers unfamiliar with the conventions of yoga.
In 1997 I started to practise yoga while training as a clarinettist, and took on ashtanga and the
Alexander Technique almost simultaneously in 2003. Alexander Technique and ashtanga seems to
be a challenging combination, prejudices prevailing in both disciplines. My approach to yoga is one
of practical exploration and I write here about the philosophy of yoga in a simple form that is easily
understandable for Alexander teachers. Writing this essay has demanded me to look carefully at my
yoga practice, in order to see how the principles of the Alexander Technique have become part of it. Continue Reading