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Copyright © Clifford Sweatte. All rights reserved.
In 1974, I met David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff in Encinitas, California and began studying Ashtanga Yoga. A small group of us contributed funds for their Indian teacher to travel to the U.S. and in the fall of 1975 Guruji (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois) and his son Manju arrived in San Diego to teach daily classes to our group in Cardiff-by-the Sea, California. In addition to Guruji’s Asana classes, several of us were taught Pranayama and in the evenings we attended his theory classes.
After several months, Guruji left for Mysore while Manju stayed behind to teach Ashtanga Yoga in the traditional method, as he continues to do today. I was fortunate enough to study very closely with Manju during his early days here and credit him with many of the understandings and nuances I came to learn about Ashtanga Yoga. David and Nancy left California to teach in Maui and in the summer of 1976 were gracious enough to host me for a month at their home in Maui. It was during that month that I learned the Advanced A Series (now referred to as third and fourth series). The following year I returned to Maui to learn Advanced B (now referred to as fifth and sixth series) from David, he had just returned from Mysore where he learned Advanced B. I was Guruji's second student to learn the Advanced B series and had now learned the complete Ashtanga Yoga Syllabus. I alternated the Advanced A and B Series together with Pranayama as a daily practice for the next three years. Guruji returned to California for his second visit in 1978, and in 1980 I traveled to Mysore, India to study with Guruji. During that visit, Guruji adjusted, then confirmed my practice of the Ashtanga Yoga Syllabus, including Pranayama, as correct and graced me with a Dhyana (meditation) ceremony, teaching me the seventh limb of Ashtanga Yoga. My practice continues daily as it has for over forty years. Now it is time to present my yoga and life lessons by sharing classes in the traditional Ashtanga Yoga method. I'd like to invite you to join me!