Ashtanga Lanka

Jacob Handwerker

I’ve always been a mover and explorer.   Challenging my physical body and spending time in the wilderness was how I used to find peace of mind and happiness.  Eventually I discovered Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Vipassana meditation which turned my attention inward.  I still love the wild but these practices are sustainable for the rest of my life and showed me how to experience the same peace and harmony anytime.

At five my parents signed me up for kids yoga classes and gave me the book, Be a Frog, a Bird, or a Tree.  The seeds of Yoga were planted, but it took some years of wandering and experimenting for them to sprout.

I dabbled with Yoga in my 20’s and always enjoyed the classes but never knew what to practice when I was on my own.  Now I realize that I was searching for a self-practice and the empowerment that comes with it.

In the fall of 2005 a friend suggested I try a “Mysore” Ashtanga Yoga class.  It clicked immediately.  I loved the 1:1 instruction, the hands-on adjustments, and the sound and power of Ujayi breathing.

Jacob has been my student for 12 years and assisted me at Ashtanga Lanka for five seasons.  He and I are in complete alignment concerning the practice.  He has wise hands and a compassionate outlook. 
Pincha Mayurasana

Enter Name of Pose

Sri Lankan Hill Country

Two years after discovering Ashtanga I was at Burning Man and joined an AcroYoga workshop at HeeBeeGeeBee camp.  This community based practice blends the spiritual wisdom of Yoga, the loving-kindness of Thai massage, and the dynamic power of Acrobatics.

My adult life has been strongly influenced by Ashtanga Yoga, AcroYoga, and Vipassana meditation.  Consistent practice had led to significant growth, and I’m excited to share these transformational practices with you.

Ashtanga Yoga is a moving and breathing meditation while Vipassana meditation is a seated practice.  Together they are like two wings of a bird; when both are nourished power, grace, and compassion can be developed. 

My primary Ashtanga teacher is Kathy Cooper, who began practicing in 1976.  Her light, energetic spirit, and passion for living fully is contagious.  I met Kathy when I was doing work trade at Ashtanga Lanka.  Kathy was the resident teacher and from December 2007 to the spring of 2014.  Each winter we spent 3+ months together in Sri Lanka.  

I also attended Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor’s one month Teacher Intensive. They are creative, insightful, and their knowledge and explanation of the Ashtanga method and it’s subtle aspects is profound.  I hope some of their wisdom comes through in my teaching.

I have also studied in Mysore, India multiple times.  On one trip I spent an entire month studying “Yoga Mudras” with B.N.S. Iyengar one on one.  The Mudras I learned combine a specific asana with a certain pranayama technique.   Mr. Iyengar had colorful stories to go along with each mudra.  This was a memorable experience I will never forget.

I am also a certified Level 2 Immersion teacher with AcroYoga International.  

I look forward to meeting you and please email me questions anytime.
With Metta,  Jacob