Amy and Andy

Amy Cheung

Amy’s yoga practice began at Pure Yoga Hong Kong in 2002 when a dear friend invited her to take a trial class. Amy quickly fell in love with the practice as she was pleasantly surprised by how much of a physical work out yoga can be. Staying fit and healthy always being a priority for her. She has been practicing on a near daily basis ever since. By 2007 she was practicing practically all of Advanced A Series Ashtanga Yoga. An intense interest in and fascination with the physical aspects of yoga continues. Yet simultaneously she has cultivated a keen interest in the philosophical as well as spiritual aspects of yoga. Through yoga she has learned to become more patient, accepting life and it’s situations, accepting people as they are, being present, building awareness and having compassion. She strives to be loving kindness. Amy maintains a vegetarian diet. She has undertaken various projects to help humans better cope with oppressive living conditions. Additionally, she has undertaken projects saving the lives of numerous animals. She maintains a yogic way of life and has had spiritual experiences.

Amy is thankful for having had as her first yoga teacher Alex Medin, a certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher by Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. Everything that Alex taught to her was pure and true in the Ashtanga Yoga lineage, as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. A focus of the practice always being on an energetic level of connection with the subtle body as opposed to solely upon the gross physical level. She then took a teacher training course with Paul Dallaghan, also a certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher by Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. Here she learned the science of anatomy along with the application of physical assisting, together with methods of pranayama. Most importantly, Amy feels blessed to have studied under the guidance of a true master of yoga, Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, whom she affectionately refers to as ‘Guruji’, R. Sharath Jois, and R. Saraswati Jois. They reinforced her focus upon the physicality of the practice, but in a different light. At her level of practice she was guided to let go of egotistical attachment. To use the physical poses as a platform for concentration, for serene presence. Instilled upon her was the importance of the breath, and how one’s breath is a medium for yoga to happen. Accordingly, the importance of breath, correct breath, is stressed as she teaches yoga. She continues to study with R. Sharath Jois and feels honored to have him as her teacher and guru. Amy is proud to carry on the lineage of Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, this lineage and it’s teachings.

Amy’s goal as yoga teacher is to be inspirational to her students, sharing with them the beauty of yoga. Her classes stay true to her lineage of Ashtanga Yoga. She offers unusual insight into correctly assuming each pose as well as movements throughout the practice. Her classes are suitable for all levels of practitioner. She strives to keep her classes light and enjoyable, yet at the same time offering an opportunity for each practitioner to be challenged beyond self perceived limitations. She encourages her students to keep their breath flowing throughout the practice. She hopes that her students leave her classes feeling relaxed, grounded, revitalized with a sense of serenity. All the while having gained valuable insights through her sharing of the teachings.

Qualifications and certifications

Aug. 2016 – Completed R. Sharath Jois’s special training course for authorized teachers, KPJAYI, Mysore, India

Nov. 2015 – Assisted R. Sharath Jois teaching at KPJAYI, Mysore, India

Oct. 2014 – Authorization Level 2 by R. Sharath Jois, KPJAYI, Mysore, India

2005-07, 2014-16 – Studied at KPJAYI shala, Mysore, India

March 2012 – Attended workshop with certified Ashtanga yoga teacher Chuck Miller, New York, USA

June 2011 – Prison Yoga training with James Fox, New York, USA

2006-2009 – Apprenticeship and co-teacher with certified Ashtanga yoga teacher Alex Medin, Hong Kong

Nov. 2005 – teacher training certificate with certified Ashtanga yoga teacherDavid Swenson, Hong Kong

Sept. 2005 – 200 hr Yoga Alliance registered teacher training certificate with certified Ashtanga yoga teacher Paul Dallaghan, Thailand

 

Andrew Petker

The year 2000, I have been practicing general vinyasa yoga for a matter of months. A friend tells me that a famous teacher from India is coming to New York. Separately, a teacher tells me that an Indian Master is coming to teach in New York. I immediately picked up upon this second similar insight, and taking the cue, decide to attend this Indian Master’s yoga practice.

I show up at the Puck Building in New York City early morning half asleep, as at the time I am accustomed to practicing yoga in the evening in an air conditioned studio of a health club.

The first thing that becomes apparent is a beautiful shiny (likely slippery) varnished wood floor, with no complimentary sticky mats.

I proceed to register for what I now know as a full primary led class, mentioning to the registering woman that I do not have a sticky mat. She was reassuring in that she could probably find a mat for me to use. I proceeded to sit down on the wood floor, observing more and more yogis coming in.

I started to become intimidated watching some of these yogis doing handstands as a preliminary warm up.

The registering woman eventually presented to me an old sticky mat which smelled from years of tapas, apparently never having been cleaned, which someone must have finally tossed away. I thanked her, rolled out the mat, and reluctantly sat upon the stinky mat.

The teacher from my health club who told me about this event came over to me and said, ‘Andrew, this is going to be a hard class, are you sure that you are ready for this?’ My reply, ‘Oh sure, no problem.’

This was to be my very first Ashtanga Yoga practice, I had at this time no idea what Ashtanga Yoga was.

The class was taught by a jovial, commanding Indian man, in a language that I did not know. At this time I did not know the Sanskrit names of the poses, nor the Sanskrit count.

Not knowing the sequence, I would look at a particular skinny yogi ‘super hero’ practitioner sporting tattoos, observe the pose that he would get into, then quickly duplicate such. I had previously done many of the poses via general vinyasa yoga classes, clearly not in this order. Two poses I had yet to see.

It was puzzling to me that the Indian man, who I now revere as Sri. Krishna Pattabhi Jois and affectionately refer to as ‘Guruji’, spent so much time with me during this class. Guruji kept saying something to me, I could not understand what he was saying to me. After hearing him comment for a seventh time, I thought to myself, ‘No, did he just call me a Bad Man?’ He certainly did!

I was soaking wet with sweat not being accustomed to practicing in a non air conditioned environment. My sweat permeated the worn deteriorating sticky mat which now smelled 10 times worse than when it was dry. Hundreds of tiny crumbly pieces of light blue sticky mat were clinging all over me. I did not know which would be a worse choice, to get rid of the sticky mat and practice in a pool on the slippery floor, or to persevere, I opted to persevere.

It seemed as if Guruji kept us in headstand for an eternity. Somehow I made it through the entire practice.

The scene resembled the periphery of a Grateful Dead concert, books for sale, shirts, even beautiful photos of Guruji. Clearly indicative of the devotion that these yogis have for Guruji, Saraswathi as well as Sharath, together with a passion for their system of Ashtanga Yoga.

Following practice we queued up, and as I was then before a seated Guruji, I just naturally prostrated at his feet, not consciously knowing what I was doing. Rather, this felt instinctively a natural, respectful and beautiful thing to do.

I have clear memory of Saraswathi as well as Sharath assisting the practice.

Deja-vu. A handful of years later I found myself in the same full primary led class with Guruji in the same Puck Building. This time Guruji came to me on a single occasion giving me a single verbal assist, in pascimattanasana, ‘You, look forward’, which I then did. To this day, every time that I assume pascimattanasana, I clearly hear Guruji telling me this.

Guruji in my mind was a true yoga master.

Instilled upon me through my experience with Guruji is that as teacher one must perform selfless service through teaching students, focusing particular attention upon those in need.

Continuing to maintain a dedicated daily Ashtanga Yoga practice over the years, I travelled to India for a third time in 2014 for dedicated practice with R. Sharath Jois. I see and feel in Sharath a true yoga master.

In 2016 Sharathji bestowed his blessing upon Andrew to teach Ashtanga Yoga.

Andrew has heartfelt gratitude to his long time teacher Eddie Stern, co-director of Ashtanga Yoga New York, devoted student and certified teacher of Guruji. Andrew sees a clear and delineated path which led him to the doorstep of his teacher Eddie. Andrew is profoundly grateful for the compassion, insightful teachings as well as guidance he receives from Eddie. Andrew receives from Eddie unusual insights of yogasana as well as movement therein within the method of Ashtanga Yoga. Further, over the years Andrew has experienced Eddie’s adjustments of asana, which in turn influences and guides Andrew’s adjustments which he gives as teacher. Additionally, Andrew has learned yoga theory and philosophy from Eddie. Andrew is appreciative for Eddie having created an opportunity for Andrew to have been of service at Broome Street Temple, a Vedic temple which was in SoHo, New York City, a Hindu temple ordained by Guruji. Eddie taught Andrew that yoga is connectedness. Andrew is grateful to have Eddie as his teacher and guru.

Selected trainings and certificates

Authorized by R. Sharath Jois, KPJAYI, Mysore, India, 2016

Study with R. Sharath Jois at KPJAYI in Mysore, India, 2014, 2015 – 2016, 2016

Retreat with R. Sharath Jois in Uttarkashi, Himalayas, India, 2015

Study with Eddie Stern at Ashtanga Yoga New York, 2008 – present

Yoga Therapy certificate, Svastha Yoga of Krishnamacharya: Therapy Program, Svastha Yoga and Ayurveda, Ganesh Mohan, April 2014

Various practices with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, R. Saraswathi Jois, R. Sharath Jois beginning 2000

Amy and Andrew teach authentic and traditional Ashtanga Yoga with devotion to Guruji and Sharathji as service.