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Michael Gannon

March 7, 2011
Yoga found Michael after 10 years of chaotic deal making in the American advertising and music business. After studying in India with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, learning the primary, intermediate and advanced series in the traditional Ashtanga vinyasa system, he was authorized to teach by Jois in 2001. Currently, he teaches workshops, trainings and retreats in the Americas, the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa and Asia.
He imparts his unique teaching style through his GAVY Teacher Apprenticeships, training over 200 teachers since 2002. In 2005, he founded the brand Yoga Dealer, and created an instructional breathing audio program Awaken Your Life Force and Quiet Your Mind, three Yoga Posters, and the DVD From Earth to Heaven.  In 2010, Michael introduced his latest DVD, Opening Your Heart- Elements of Back-bending, all available on-line at his website www.michaelgannonyoga.com.
When Michael is not traveling, he spends time on the beach in Mexico at the feet of his two most powerful Gurus: his 6-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.
Ekam Yoga instructor Sarah Yates hosted Michael Gannon for a Master Class in January during his whirlwind tour of Southern Africa (a five-city tour of South Africa, and Maputo, Mozambique) and asked him a few questions. 

[EY] What was it about Ashtanga yoga that first drew you to the practice? Has this changed over time?
[MG] First, the intense physical challenge. The heat, the sweat, a completely new form of training that I never knew existed, or imagined I would do. This complete freshness/newness excited me and kept me coming back for more, to see what was next; how my body would respond, how it would progress.

Second, after some time having a physical experience, the mind became engaged. I started learning about Eastern ideas and philosophies and experiencing the practice as scientific research of the body-mind connection. There was this awakening in my head about different lifestyles. I began to connect with new types of people that I had never encountered before. My entire social experience became more present.

Third, eventually, through consistent practice and the awakening transformation that it brings, a more subtle, energetic experience drew me deeper and deeper into the yoga adventure. I was completely charged about my yoga practice in every way, it became a lifestyle for me.

[EY] You’ve trained quite a few teachers. What do you think are the best qualities to develop in a teacher (or as a teacher)?
[MG] Practice and practice! The more time spent on the mat as a practitioner, the more true experience one has to share. I train teachers to teach only what they have mastered themselves. I see many teachers trying to teach too much, most times unnecessary. There’s no need to try to push off something you have only read just to appear more knowledgeable, capable, needed, etc. Stick to what you have experienced and what you teach will come across more authentically.

[EY] What have you found to be the best qualities to develop as a continuing student?
[MG] Don’t believe everything you hear, even from your own teachers. Try it! Put it into practice and see if it is real for you. If you find that it is, apply it to your practice. If it’s not, let it go and continue being open to other opportunities.

[EY] On your toughest day, what gets you on your mat?
[MG] The lesson that I have learned many, many times: no matter what is going on in my life this week, this day, this moment, the practice will calm my mind, charge my body, and allow me to deal with everything from a more balanced space of stillness and equanimity.

[EY] Any advice for students, especially those taking on the challenge of an Ashtanga practice?
[MG] No expectations! No plan for when you will achieve any particular part of the practice. In my experience, every time I created a plan of when I would get to a certain place in my practice, it was achieved much sooner than I thought.

[EY] How was touring Southern Africa and teaching here? What did you find most inspiring?
[MG] Gannon loves Africa Yogis :). There is a beautiful openness, appreciation, and absorption of authenticity here. Maybe because the yoga community in Southern Africa is still growing and few traveling teachers make it here, it is refreshing and inspires me to want to share even more with them.
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Interviewed by Sarah Yates from Ekam Yoga Joburg | info@ekamyoga.co.za | www.ekamyoga.co.za
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