My teacher here in Rethymno, Crete, Kristina Karitinou, gave me access to an old Ashtanga file and some discs last week, I've been busy posting some treasures. You might have caught the old Ashtanga 'cheat sheet' post, Yesterday's 1988 Yoga Journal Pattabhi Jois article and the 1989 video from Helsinki of Kristina's late husband Derek Ireland teaching a 'talk through Primary series class.
The videos below are of full 2nd series ( and a title 3rd) demonstration from the same 1989 visit that Derek Ireland and former girlfriend Radha made to Helsinki. I find it fascinating and possessing great charm.
At a time when we have so many 'perfect', polished videos of practice out there this is very much a work in progress insight into Derek and Radha's practice..., at times I forget that it's a demo, it seems more like a fly on the wall look at their own practice each morning in their own shala. Look out for them taking turns to pop over to each others mat now and again to spot or help in and out of a posture, the little comments, the shared jokes.
Although they were both practicing and teaching Sivananda yoga for a time, my understanding is that they began practicing Ashtanga in 1986, this video then would be after three years of Ashtanga practice.
In the videos (I've had to divide them into four because of the slow wifi here), you'll see Radha practicing half vinyasa and Derek full vinyasa, however Derek also includes a handstand after every vinyasa, EVERY vinyasa, there he is straight after kapo (with which he struggles) in handstand, after Dwi para Sirsasna (not one of his strengths at this time either), straight up to handstand.... it's madness, delightful madness.
I remember in a workshop with John Scott recently (one of Derek Ireland's former students), John taking me up to handstand after my bakasana exit from Supt kurmasana, I remember thinking at the time, how very 1980s.
More on Derek Ireland and Radha
Fusion: Derek Ireland Edition
Radha's Search for Truth
Before the sun has risen above the mountain-tops in Saktoria in Southern Crete, I step into the dark marble-floored shala. The familiar sound of Ujjai breath welcomes me as I unroll my mat. Slowly moving in and out of form, my body is gently awoken, coming alive. Radha enters. She lights an incense stick and walks the room, clearing the energy and gently introducing her presence.
My first years of Ashtanga Yoga were spent in her guided class - I simply couldn’t get enough of hearing her clear English accent counting us through the Vinyasas (breath-movement). No one can take you through the Primary Series with more grace than Radha. I remember a time in Goa in the mid-nineties when she had us do eight Sun Salutations each of A and B, and the whole Primary series with full Vinyasa, six days a week! ”I’m just following orders!” one man laughed after the two-hour practice had ended. But for me it wasn’t like following orders, it was more like being carried on that voice, allowing the mind and body to surrender, to acquiesce, and simply follow her count and the rhythm of my own breath. Even today in my self-practice, I can occasionally hear her voice counting in my mind like a mantra...
And here I am, almost two decades later, once again in that little shala in Crete with Radha & Pierre. One evening last summer, Radha and I sat down on the terrace before dinner. I wanted to share some thoughts of hers with my own students and had asked her for a small interview for my blog. But the half hour interview soon turned into a couple of hours and Radha told me some of her fascinating story… Full article at link below
Le Yoga Shop Paris Words and photographs from Crete by Kia Naddermier