And what would Ashtanga yoga teacher Annie Pace say? She would bust the myths entirely, stating: “Ashtanga is not just for hard bodies.” And for that matter, “yoga is not just for the mat.”
“Yoga is a philosophy of life, which also has the potential to create a vibrantly healthy body and mind,” as Patabhi Jois has explained. “Ashtanga Yoga, practiced in its correct sequential order, gradually leads the practitioner to rediscovering his or her fullest potential on all levels of human consciousness—physical, psychological, and spiritual. Through this practice of correct breathing (Ujjayi Pranayama), postures (asanas), and gazing point (driste), we gain control of the senses and a deep awareness of our selves. By maintaining this discipline with regularity and devotion, one acquires steadiness of body and mind.”
Annie Pace is one of the featured teachers at the fifth annual Telluride Yoga Festival, joining guest instructors from as far away as Mysore, India for the event which takes place Thursday, July 12 – Sunday, July 15: Dr. Jayashree and M.A. Narasimhan, Duncan Wong, Annie Pace, Mark Whitwell, Beryl Bender Birch, Sean Johnson, Alanna Kaivalya, Stacey Rosenberg, Nancy Stechert, Karl Straub, Allison English, the YogaSlackers, Amy Johnson, Jill Lawson, Rachel Nelson, Mike Matsumara, River Cummings, Erin Fleming, Tina Porter and Josh Vincent.
At Yoga Fest, Annie turns her words into action in her four classes. Three are traditional.
Thursday, July 11, all day, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Annie’s intensive, “Gunas and Yugas and Angas – Oh My, Yogic Principles Demystified and Applied,” explores the fundamental principles of Yoga and Ayurveda and how they apply in our life practice. During the day, Annie will “connect the dots” between Gunas ans Doshas, mind and body, breath and bandhas, subtle and gross, theory and practice. Discussion, guided breath and vinyasa pratice, chanting and stories will be tailored to the group’s interest and capacity.
Friday morning class, 8 am. – 10 a.m., Annie explores the fundamental principles of Ashtanga Yoga and their application to specific postures in the Primary Series. On Sunday, the focus is again on the Primary Series, as Annie guides her students in a traditional “count-through” of Yoga Chikitsa, designed to detoxify and align the body. But it’s her class on Saturday that is an eye opener. The Saturday class ( 8 – 10 a.m.) is entitled “Embracing the Obstacles: Therapeutic Techniques for Special Conditions.” The following is the class description:
“Ever wonder how to establish a practice when physically challenged? Or how to continue an established practice in the face of trauma? When recovering from accident or injury? Or when we’re simply not 20 anymore? Learn to work intelligently, gently, and safely in special situations WITHOUT sacrificing the essence of the practice. Principles will be introduced, explored, and applied to specific needs.”
With 33 years of experience, Annie Pace is on of the most adept practitioners of traditional Ashtanga Yoga, having received her Advanced B teaching certification from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in 1995, a rare honor. And she continues to study extensively in India: ayurveda, Hindustani music, yoga cooking and philosophy. Annie’s clear, compassionate (and humorous) teaching style makes Ashtanga accessible even to beginning students. And she is also an accomplished harmonium player and singer. Her CD of devotional chanting, Ekam, was recorded at her shala, Shakti Sharanam in Crestone.
To learn more, eavesdrop on our conversation by clicking on the “play” button.