Welcome to our blog, "A Brother's Journey"!
Our names are Aaron and Adam Batista. We're travelling to Mysore, Karnataka, India, to practice and study Ashtanga yoga at its source and have decided to create this blog to document our experiences, for family, friends and all who are interested. We'll both be posting on this blog, so to keep it simple, we'll be attaching our names to the title of each post.
below: three generations of Batista boys, from L-R, Adam, Antonio (grandpa!), Aaron, Laurentino (daddio)
A vigorous and intense form of yoga, Ashtanga as it is known today was produced and popularized by a man named Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois. We will be travelling to his school, Krishna Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI), now run by his daughter and grandson. Here, we'll practice the first of six series of ashtanga yoga, called the primary series. The routine will be to practice the primary series 6 days a week, for a period of three to five months.
About two years ago we were first introduced to something similar to Ashtanga Yoga through the home workout videos, P90X. Something felt different every time we did the yoga video, which is done once a week in the program. We aren't sure what attracted me to it at first. Maybe it was the fact that it was an amazing workout that required nothing but our bodies, and a little space. Maybe it was training to be strong, flexible and maneuverable again. Maybe it was the healing aspects of yoga, learning to really breathe again, or the moving meditation present in the practice.
Whatever it was, it became something of an obsession for us both. Week after week we saw ourselves improve, bit by bit, inch by inch. We found ourselves being pulled to it. When we started we could barely reach past our knees in a forward bend, after a while we were holding our toes.
The daily aches, pains, and stiffness in our bodies were replaced by a feeling of maneuverability and strength we hadn't felt in years.
Then, the program ended... We continued to do the videos on occasion, but it wasn't until expressing our new-found interest in yoga during a conversation with Cynthia Funk, wife of our cousin Orlando, that our lives would change drastically. Cynthia recommended that we enroll in the Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training Program at her yoga studio, The Yoga Sanctuary, on college street in Toronto. There she and fellow Instructors at the studio would teach us Ashtanga yoga from the ground up.
It seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but something was drawing us to it. After a period of deliberation, we accepted the offer and enrolled in the program. Over 8 months we learned the primary series of Ashtanga Yoga, pose by pose, with the 30+ other students in the program.
During that period, we both discovered a new depth and passion for the practice. As the program went on, we began wondering what it would be like to go to India, to practice Ashtanga in the city of Mysore. After much deliberation and discussion with each other as well as family and friendsdeer both decided that India would be our path. All that was left was to save up enough money to make the journey.
Months passed and eventually, we were ready.
Research done, flights booked, arrangements made; now we stand at the beginning of our journey.