All practitioners must email the instructor before attending.
New students are welcome. No experience is required. A one-month commitment is requested to begin. There is a wait list. Please email to set a date to observe the morning practice.
We love visits from traditional practitioners who pass through town. If you practice daily, please check our calendar and email your proposed drop in dates. Mention your teacher’s name.
Sometimes, there is space for a local drop-in student on Sundays at 9. Please inquire.
Otherwise, drop ins are not allowed.
Ashtanga Yoga: Ann Arbor
at The Phoenix Center
220 S. Main St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
I began exploring ashtanga yoga in 2000, and have practiced daily without a break since April 2003.
I have made eight long trips to India to study with R. Sharath Jois. In winter 2011, he authorized me at Level 2. That spring, I committed to full-time ashtanga teaching, leaving a career as an economic and cultural sociologist. AY:A2 incorporated that summer. I will continue to travel to Mysore study with Sharath, and to deepen my understanding of the roots of this method.
I got in to daily practice at YogaWorks Santa Monica in 2001, with Heather Radha Duplex, Joan Hyman, and their teachers Chuck Miller and Maty Ezraty. When that ashtanga program dissolved a few years later, I relied on the method itself and strong community support to continue the practice.
In 2006, I met Dominic Corigliano. He taught me the subtler layers of ashtanga method. Then during 2007-08 he taught me to teach Mysore style. Dominic now visits our shala annually, and is the only teacher besides Rachel Garcia and me to lead the practice here. I assisted Jorgen Christiansson in 2009, and have assisted Sharath in Mysore.
I learned formal pranayama from Rolf Naujokat in 2006, and have studied the breath systematically since that time. I now follow a gentle pranayama practice which supports the teaching work and restful states of being.
As a result of consistent pranayama, I fell in to daily sitting practice. This led to a desire to take silent retreat. After residential study in various traditions, I found a teacher who could instruct me in a manner consistent with the ashtanga practice. This brings clarity to a decade-long sitting practice.
Upon moving from California to Michigan in 2009, I began experimenting with ayurveda to harmonize the climate's effects on my being. I have gradually habituated to an ayurvedic life style, and work closely with ayurvedic physicians to cultivate the vitality necessary for strong teaching practice.
Before grad school at UCLA, I studied history and philosophy at college in Oregon, and spent years doing social justice and research work around the world. Before that, I grew up on a ranch in rural Montana, learning from my family to value outdoor play as the most natural of all spiritual practices.
My teaching depends on the ongoing experience of being a student and explorer. I take annual silent retreat alone, in addition to study trips to India. Among others, M.A. Jayashree, M.A. Narasimhan, and Shinzen Young strongly support my inquiries into the nature of consciousness.
I began practicing Ashtanga Yoga in 2007, and have practiced daily, without a break, since April of 2011.
Angela Jamison is my teacher; AY:A2 is the only home Ashtanga shala I have ever known. I have made three long trips to India, including one study trip at KPJAYI with Saraswati Jois, and one with R. Sharath Jois. I will return to India regularly for practice with Sharath.
I grew up in the Southwest desert with close cousins and two hooligan brothers to play with. Surrounded by majestic red cliffs, sunshine, and blue sky, I spent my early life hiking, camping, and indulging a great fondness for small creatures. I first discovered Ashtanga yoga while living in Reno, Nevada. I studied there with Lynne Ramsey, a student of David and Doug Swenson, and with her senior students at the Yoga Shack. The following year I moved to Michigan, and found myself in good company. Each week, I attended Jonathan Tyman’s Primary Series class and relied on the community there for support in my practice. It was in Jonathan’s class that I met Angela for the first time at the end of 2009. Since then, I have not missed an opportunity to practice with her.
I worked for many years as a Massage Therapist before deciding to pursue higher education. As a non-traditional student, I studied Kinesiology at the University of Michigan. My focus on biological sciences and public health both nurtured and intensified my interest in people, and inspired my service-oriented heart.
In April 2012, Angela invited me to her teaching apprenticeship. In the years since, I have spent many hundreds of hours assisting her in the Mysore room, and holding the space when she is away. I also have maintained a seated meditation practice throughout this time.
I believe that the enormous spiritual and practical support and guidance I have received so far on this path can be repaid only by continuing to practice daily, with devotion, and without fail; so I will.
In December 2013, I completed my Bachelors Degree in Kinesiology, and my 300-hour apprenticeship. The same week, my darling daughter Alicia turned 18 years old. Later that month, Angela departed for two months of study with Sharath in Mysore and left stewardship of the shala to me. We have repeated this vinyasa every year since.
Sign in and settle up before class. Not after.
Manage your own account religiously. Note how crude it would be to partake of the energy and expertise we offer without closing the loop. This is energy awareness.
Shower before class. It's best not to shower right after. Most people change and go straight to work.
Wear clean clothes that do not seek attention.
Take rest on new and full moon days. Or thereabouts.
Wash your mat often. Cotton rugs are good. Mats by manduka, uniquely, do not off-gas.
Drink water. Lots of water. After class. Not during. Not cold water. Warm water with lemon is nice.
Study the unguents. Ghee. Castor oil. Sesame oil. Coconut everything. Get them on and in the body, for joint health and inner fluidity.
Wear no scented products to practice. Detergent, shampoo, balms, soaps: unscented. Intermediate practitioners’ senses sometimes grow acute; if so, artificial scent can be disruptive.
During the heavy part of your menstrual cycle, do not practice mula or uddiyana bandhas. Or, accordingly, ashtanga yoga. Learn to send your energy toward the Earth as deliberately as you draw it up in ashtanga. Menstruation is a natural sedative that helps you restore vital energy each month. Take this opportunity, and if so moved, take chocolate too. You’re entitled to rest.
Whatever your gender or age, pay attention to your monthly and annual rhythms as well as to those of the moon, seasons, and the people around you. Cycles create meaning and beauty, and soothe our nervous systems.
If you have a fever, do not practice. If you're contagious, practice at home. Otherwise, if in doubt take gentle practice. After a few surya namaskara, you'll know how to proceed.
If you have an injury, practice in a healing manner. This is always possible, even if you simply sit on your mat, breathe, and feel your feelings. Practices that defy habitual desires and expectations tend to be those that burn samkaras. Show up in whatever body, and whatever mind, you have today.
If you go out Saturday night, come to Sunday practice anyway. If you drink alcohol, perhaps by accident, practicing the next morning is an experience not to be missed. No judgment here. Just run the experiment and see what data it provides.
Practice way more than you talk about practice. Show up twenty, or a hundred, times more often than you email. Avoid idle conversation about your or others' physical practices. A good guideline is 99% practice, 1% chitchat.
If you are my student and you visit another shala, be a quick study. Discern the local ways. Greet the teacher, and treat her with respect and empathy. Practice at most primary series, with extra care. Thank the teacher and take from the experience whatever is positive and inspiring.