Steve's Blog
Body meets Mind
May 28th, 2006

Hi Everyone.

1. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and we will only have one class: 8-10 am, so you can sleep “late” and observe the dead in the afternoon.

About the dead, to put things in perspective, I’ve been scolded by my fellow Ashtangis for getting up so late now that I have kids: 4:30 in the morning. The earliest regular wake-up time I ever had was 3:15 am. It was consciousness altering. Michele and I would go to concerts, lectures and dance performances and fall asleep.

2. Speaking of Michele, she will be wrapping up her Ashtanga Basics course this afternoon at 5 pm. Next week will be the beginning of a regular class, open to drop-ins, dropouts and everyone else, on Sundays from 5-6:30 pm, Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners. She’s describing it as a class for people just getting started, or those who want to take a slower approach to the practice. If Mysore-style threatens your sense of homeostasis, you might try this one.

3. I’ll be doing my led Primary class this coming Friday, June 2nd from 5-7 pm. Please bring your burning questions and uncomfortable dilemmas. I’ll be offering a few more comments on my understanding of the differences between Body and Mind and the arduous and glorious job of getting them to sit down and talk to each other. Eventually talking leads to flirting, which leads to…

Namaste, Steve

Gary Snyder Quote
May 2nd, 2006

Hi Everyone.

Great quote from Gary Snyder, poet:

     I was working for a trail crew up in Yosemite Park. I found myself doing three months of long, hard physical labor, out on the trails week after week. At the beginning, I found myself straining against it, trying to exercise my mind in a serious intellectual kind of way, while doing my work. I was reading Milton and had some other reading. And it was frustrating, although I had done the same thing before on many jobs. Finally, I gave up trying to carry on an intellectual interior life separate from the work and I said the hell with it, I’ll just work. And instead of losing something, I got something much greater. By just working I found myself being completely there, having the whole mountain inside of me, and finally having a whole language inside of me that became one with the rocks and trees. And that was where I learned the possibility of being one with what you were doing, and not losing anything of the mind thereby. Excerpted from The Real Work , (1969, New Directions).

For those with Existential Courage
April 5th, 2006

Hi everyone:

Greetings from the Santa Barbara Rain Forest [this was a period of seemingly incessant rain]:

     I’ll be carrying on with the once a month led class. I’ll begin with a short talk, please bring questions, and then we’ll get part of the way through the first series, maybe about halfway. Everyone is always welcome to just do what they can. I won’t whack anybody with a stick. If the universe begins to look bleak, you can always lie on your back. Beginners are welcome to this class, just be aware that Ashtanga is a little different than EZ yoga: expect to get some exercise.

     If you’ve experienced confusion in the Myore-style class, this should help. If you experience confusion in this class, well…1. It could be the obtuse style of my teaching, in which case, hang in there, some order may begin to emerge from within the chaos, 2. you are in the grip of the cosmic polarities, somewhere between above and below, which I take to be a good sign, an indicator of existential courage, sure to resolve itself in a rush of prana, or 3. this isn’t for you, in which case I’m sure I could refer you elsewhere.



PS: Our “office” is a bit haphazard at times. If you view your inclusion on this list as irritating, presumptuous, completely boring, totally irrelevant or something to be aggressively ignored, please let us know, I’d hate to be seen as another internet misfit.

Kristin Laak Workshop & Guruji Visit
March 1st, 2006

Hi Everyone:

1. We will be hosting Kristin Laak from Ashland, Oregon for a two day weekend workshop.

Do you remember Kristin? Back in the early 90’s, the Santa Barbara Yoga Center had a fairly happening scene and Kristin was in the middle of it. This was when yoga was just beginning to happen in a big way, with classes, people coming, the first glimmers of that. During this time, Kristin went to Mysore, India, to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and she brought back a very clear stable channel to that lineage. A few of us followed the path to Mysore shortly thereafter, myself included. Kristin inspired many during that period with a dignified commitment to the practice and a sophisticated aesthetic sensibility. Before long she was gone, to work alongside Richard Freeman in Boulder, and then to have a family in Oregon.

She’ll begin both days with a talk, followed by her presentation of the Ashtanga practice. All are welcome, it should be good.

2. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois himself and family will be in San Francisco March 12-23. (Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute)

Expect a large room full of yogis, and the great guru, age 90, wandering around, calling through the primary series ( there will be Intermediate series also, on the second week, for those who qualify.) Get him while he’s still on the planet. The presentation will be simple, but within this simplicity is somatic information of an incredibly evolved form. He offers a subtle physiology which has been altered through a relatively simple lifetime of sincere and intense yoga practice informed by a living Hatha Yoga lineage. Students can learn it by practicing in his presence. And in his advanced years, he still delivers it with a wallop, and intimately,  just to make sure it gets through.

See you at the Shala, Steve

Michele Returns
January 29th, 2006

     Michele will be phasing a little more back into the Shala, following a three year child-rearing partial hiatus: she’ll be taking the Wednesday morning and afternoon Mysore classes. She starts this week, February 1st. Everything else will outwardly remain the same. Inwardly…can’t remain the same, not possible. Ashtanga: outward form remains simple, inward form, uh…whoa.

(If you live across the planet and/or find this useless, we apologize for adding to your internet static, please tell us.)

About This Blog
January 28th, 2006

I began sending out monthly e-mail notices in September 2005 to people who had attended class at the Shala and who had given us their e-mail addresses. The overt reason was to let people know that I was doing a once a month Led Primary class, preceded by a talk. The list began at around 180 addresses and has grown a bit since. I received positive responses, and suggestions that I set up a blog, so here it is. Before February 2006 they weren’t worth too much, so I’ll spare you those. Also, these emails conveyed mundane Shala information, as well as discourses; I have snipped out the former unless they offer some entertainment value, i.e.: “The Sunday afternoon class will continue after a two week hiatus on May 4th at 4 pm…” That’s boring so I snipped it.

A good introduction to all of this can be heard on this interview with Lara Cestone at

o  Steve

  For more information, email Steve & Michele or call them at 805-965 7175
©2008 Ashtanga Santa Barbara.

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