Ashtanga yoga and organization change 

Like most of you, I have over the years attempted multiple courses in Yoga and meditation – and never internalized or sustained them. Over the last 1 year I have immersed myself into the world of Ashtanga Yoga, surprising myself with the progress and sustainability.

I think there are some interesting lessons in the school of Ashtanga Yoga for organizations to create sustainable change.

Ashtanga Yoga is a style of Yoga codified by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and taught by 100s of his students around the world.

The instruction mechanisms have a few unique characteristics:

  1. DESIGN and a common LANGUAGE: The 6 levels / series are codified and followed every where in the world by anyone who teaches today
  2. ESTABLISH the BASE: The student progresses only when the asanas / postures are mastered at every level. Only after the teacher believes you have mastered the current level, does he teach you the next asana
  3. ALLOW for INDIVIDUAL LEARNING CURVES: Everyone’s body and mind is different. So the class is designed as a self practice session, where you progress at the pace you can. The teacher observes you to occasionally correct, guide and move u forward. This makes learning extremely personalized and internalized
  4. DEVELOP the SELF PRACTICE MUSCLE: We have all seen how not having the teacher around significantly erodes the nature of our practice. Ashtanga Yoga is based on self practice and not explicitly linked to the presence of the teacher
  5. LAYERED: On the surface there is a lot of physical bending and sweating. Below the surface there is a mental and spiritual transformation

I see very strong parallels to these ideas in implementing any new initiative or any organization wide change.

What do you think?

Various asanas in a sequence and organized as levels, as shown below

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Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, creator of Ashtanga Yoga

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My teacher Gururaja Anemajal who has devoted his life to learning and teaching yoga. His Ashtanga Yoga Kendra is in HSR Layout, Bangalore

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References:

  1. Ashtanga Yoga levels
  2. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
  3. Where I learn – Ashtanga Yoga Kendra in HSR Layout 
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