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Andrea Panzer: My Yoga Journey

Andrea Panzer is the founder of Ashtanga.Yoga.Inspiration and Apana Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training.

I was born in 1959. The sun was in the Scorpio and Ascendant Sagittarius.

 

Postures in the lotus seat were my favourites from childhood. At the age of 12 I gave a yoga demonstration at a school party. It was a flow of postures in the lotus that seemingly I had invented myself. The Padmasana variations began in Samasthiti and were connected by flowing transitions like chakrasana or walking in Gorakshasana. I had never heard of yoga, however, I was fascinated by the images of yogis and babas with dreadlocks that I found in the 'City of God' of my mother's Catholic newspaper. Today, this flow, created out of pure joy, reminds me of the flow in Ashtanga Yoga which I discovered only at the age of 40. 

 

Sever spinal problems at the age of 15, and the book 'Zen and the Art of Archery' led me to my Tai Chi teacher Ping Liong Tjoa, who gave me 7 years of intensive lessons. From 1982-2005 I taught these healing Chinese energy exercises. Due to another physical challenge I started to practice yoga in 1992. I started with a luna yoga book and a copy of Sivananda Yoga routines.  In the autumn of 1999 I completed  the 2 years teacher-training of Mikel Forbes, based on Iyengar Yoga. 

 

I ventured to India to get to know Yoga in its country of origin. In Mysore I saw the Ashtanga Flow for the first time in the old Shala. I decided to first learn the first and second series and then return to Mysore, as in these times authorization would be given only, when you mastered Intermediate up to Pincha Mayurasana.  Some  friend in Mysore recommanded me to  practice with Rolf Naujokat in Goa, one of the few teachers, certified by Pattabhi Jois. I went there over a period of about 10 years, every winter for some weeks, continuing up  to Mayurasana in the Intermediate. As it was usual in this time,  we finished Primary,  started Intermediate only when we managed drop-backs, and then added posture by posture, so, in the end you practiced Primary and Intermediate in one row.

As many of the early Ashtanga Practioners, Rolfs background was from BKS Iyengar yoga. So we learned clear alignment and technics for special challenging postures in an Iyengar way.
With Lino Miele then I finished the Second Series in Kovalam, India in 2006. In these years I have deepened my Ashtanga training with other Ashtanga Yoga teachers including David Swenson, Nancy Gilgoff and Andrew Eppler. 

 

In winter 2006 I returned to Mysore for my further Ashtanga training and was thankful to be allowed to practice in Sharaths small Shala for almost 3 months. From that time, until 2014, I returned each winter to deepen my Ashtanga training in Mysore. 

 

In 2005, I took part in an intensive six-month training of Sri Ram, a direct student of T.K.V. Desikachar. There I received first and valuable insights into the yoga that Krishnamacharya taught his  son, Sri T.K.V. Desikachar, which is adapted to the needs and abilities of the individual, and passed on traditionally in individual classes. (Also known as Vini Yoga - appropriate procedure).

 

Many further Yoga trainings and especially my own daily practice helped me to deepen my spiritual understanding of Yoga. 

 

In 2011, after 4 years of annual 2-4 month practice in Mysore, India, I was authorized by R. Sharath Jois, grandson of Pattabhi Jois, to teach Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga in the Mysore tradition (2014 authorized level 2). Up to this day, I enjoy this wonderful, incomparable Vinyasa Yoga practice!

 

"By chance" I saw  an announcement of a seminar of Krishnamacharyas son in Germany. I was surprised to meet suchlike opportunity, and went straight there. From this time onwards, the annual seminars in Heidelberg with Sri Sribhashyam, the youngest son of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, from 2008 until he left his body in 2017, were the most touching and fulfilling yoga-teachings ever.
Nothing compared to the depth of his words and transmission.

Here, all "Krishnamacharya-pathes" lead together: Asanas with conscious energy control, clear technic & alignment, pranayama, meditation and spirituality. 

 

My last step so far in learning within the "Krishnamacharya Tradition" was to complete a 200h Vinyasa Krama teacher training with Srivatsa Ramaswami, who learnt for 30 years with Krishnamacharya.
Ramaswami is still sharing his deep knowledge, which for me taught me a lot about the roots of Ashtanga, as there you find the sequencing of postures, as we may use it as a step by step guide or to enlarge or vary our practice for specific purposes. He is sharing wide insight in  Asanatechnics, Pranayama, Philosophy and chanting.

 

My concern in relation to my ashtanga-yoga classes is, as far as I am able today, to convey the unity of the Yoga of Sri Krishnamacharya. Vinyasa Krama, Ashtanga Yoga, Yoga according to BKS Iyengar, Vini Yoga and the Yoga transmitted By Sri Sribhashyam - all are different aspects of Yoga, each of which has its own special significance. 

I love the flow of Ashtanga Yoga. Carried by the deep breath to feel my body and at the same time to focus myself inside and outside. To purify and balance physically, emotionally and mentally. I love the exactness of BKS Iyengars Yoga, which is felt in every cell. And to experience the subtle aspects of Yoga through Pranayama, Asana and Dharana as Sri Sribhasyam teaches it, nourishes my body and soul.

 

My daily practice is connected with seeking to dive deeper into the spiritual mystery of yoga - in the mastery of life! 

 

May all beings be guided by the Spiritual Light through LOVE and WISDOM! 

Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu!