A Study is Born: The Ashtanga Yoga Research Project

It really is incredible.  Mysore, and the time I have been given to immerse myself in yoga study.  The time on the mat, the time to sit quietly and the time to read, have opened the door to creativity.  Crazy, unexpected, BIG ideas have come out of my willingness to explore and desire to learn. I am blessed, to once again, dig deeper into my personal practice, surrendering any preconceived notions and allowing myself to grow.

But since I haven’t become strong enough yet to move beyond the distraction of my mind and just sit quietly all day in a cave, I’ve kept my mind focused on some research.  In addition to my time on the mat, seated practices, chanting class and conferences with Sharath, I brought with me more books than you would want to carry to the bus stop, let alone travel with, just to keep occupied.

The overlying theme of my plethora of texts, articles and bookmarked webpages over the past few months has been anything and everything about the female body that may impact her yoga practice.  My anatomy and physiology background gives me a strong level of understanding of the biological differences between men and women, but I’m a stickler for details.  I like to look at every nook and cranny before discerning what’s relevant and what knowledge I will impart on my students and student teachers.   A process I take very seriously.

There are many great resources out there for women, however I have constantly struggled to find anything specific on traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa practice.  The more I read, the more contradictions and “grey” areas I find.  And after talking to women in Mysore, combined with the multitude of questions I keep getting from female student teachers, the more I realize that there is a need for more information.  This information either got lost somewhere along the line, or is still begging to be found and shared.

Thus, “The Ashtanga Yoga Research Project” was born. I am doing a research study in attempt to clear some confusion.   What started out as mere curiosity, for which I formulated a hypothesis, has exploded into a survey of over 1000 volunteer Ashtanga practitioners from around the world.  I am fortunate to have the generous help of some professional researchers who are eager to ensure the study’s validity.  The response is reassurance that we are starving for this knowledge.

The main subject?  You guessed it… Gender difference in Ashtanga Vinyasa practice.

I do believe what Pattabhi Jois famously stated: “Yoga is 99% practice, 1% theory.”  True understanding can only come from consistent, dedicated practice.  With this research, hopefully we’ll all get a little closer to understanding the 1%.

For more information, or to sign up to participate in this study click here.

ashtanga yoga research project


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