The story has a happy end – for David and for the many who during the almost 50 years since then became happy practitioners of Ashtanga Yoga (and some of them also teachers). David makes it to Mysore on his second trip to India, Patthabi Jois accepts him (and Nancy Gilgoff, his companion on that trip) as students, and Nancy and David also start teaching Ashtanga Yoga, initially in California and later on Hawai’i. Patthabi Jois even starts making trips to the US to teach, and his son Manju decides (against Patthabi Jois’s wish) to stay in the US and in this way contributes enormously to spreading Ashtanga Yoga there.
The book ends in 1977. By then David has learnt all series of Ashtanga Yoga from Patthabi Jois. This had been his goal, because he was afraid that they would be lost otherwise, as at that time nobody was practicing beyond 2nd series.
David’s writing is unbelievably personal, and with such detail that I am very impressed. Maybe he kept a diary.
He also addresses critical issues: the danger of adjustments, his doubts if one really should always start the lotus pose with the right foot, the risk of putting the guru on a pedestal, and tragic events, also within the Jois’ family.
He shares many pictures from back then: Patthabi Jois with his family, Sharath at the sweet age of 2, and also the original sequence of the Ashtanga asanas, as Patthjabi Jois taught them in the early 1970s.
The book is very nicely designed. It is not cheap – currently US$ 93 without postage, which for one book adds another US$ 75 for sending it from Hawai’i (it took three months to reach me, of which the time within Hawai’i was the lengthiest). Three copies make it cheaper per copy, since postage is the same for sending one or three books.
“My search for yoga“ is really something for lovers of Ashtanga (and of books on Ashtanga). If you belong to that group, you will definitely enjoy it.
If you would like to order one or several, get directly in touch with David, by this email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find his website here.