John Bultman, M.S, ERYT-500 is one of ~25 Ashtanga Yoga teachers in the world Certified by Sharath Jois, lineage holder of Ashtanga Yoga. For the last 10 years he has served as a Yoga Program Manager for the Contemplative Sciences Center, University of Virginia, John's a student. John's a dad. He graduated with a masters in Structural Geology and Tectonics from the University of Tennessee in 2005 and a Bachelors in Geology with a minor in Music from the University of Southern Mississippi where he was first introduced to Yoga in 1998. He has made 13 trips to Mysore, India to study yoga and philosophy and has kept a 2 hr daily Ashtanga yoga practice for over 16 years. He seeks the “how” of science, the “why” of philosophy and the art of the in-between. He humbly hopes to share the beauty and healing of Yoga with strength, love, and humor as his teachers and friends continue to share with him.
Am I supposed to sell you on me? I suppose in a bio I tell you all the stuff I have done. However, I am starting to believe “I am not the doer” or at the very least there so many versions of “me” that I couldn’t be sure that the really, real “I” did any of them. I do, however, honor teachers, texts, and tapas daily, though frankly I have learned very little and am likely a terrible student. Sure, I have laminated and framed sheets of paper from establishments that attempt to pixilate and box me in and so, perhaps in rebuttal, I prefer to push these ridiculous sheets of paper into a box of their own (which currently reside in my attic). On rare occasions I escape these "boxes" like when I stood on the Grand Canyon amongst the stars and felt so small and yet, so infinite or when I sang lovely, lovely, Ludwig Van and dissolved in a sea of voices. Mind you though, I don’t have a “melodious voice”, a body that is “firm and lean” and certainly don’t have the 32 signs or marks of a buddha (I think my ears might be getting a bit bigger at least). I suffer on my mat regularly. It seems something always aches and if I have experienced anything it is that the different aches and pains seem endless and dance through the body like a daily discotheque. Maybe I have experienced pain? But don’t let that be a selling point cause I won't say I have superior learning in how to escape it, never mind passing through it or becoming bliss. I don’t do the postures perfectly and I certainly don’t breathe perfectly. My mind is unsteady. I have lots of doubts before I get on the mat. Maybe I have just grown to enjoy proving myself wrong. I am in short a hot mess. That said, EVERY PRACTICE WITHOUT FAIL I AM SURPRISED AND RENEWED. There seems to be a long way to go. I am ok with that.
What is Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga?
In a Mysore style room each student practices only up to the place that is appropriate for their ability and experience. The teacher helps each student individually and new asanas are given one by one the traditional sequence as the student builds strength, flexibility, concentration and stamina. Hands-on adjustments are sometimes given for correction, to facilitate awareness and to guide a student beyond their perceived limitations. Advanced and beginner students practice together in the same space side by side. Mysore style practice ultimately enables students grow and progress at a pace that is safe and ideal for their unique abilities.
From day one students learn how to practice on their own while being guided and supported by the teacher. A student left to their own devices will often plateau or conversely in a led class will become dependent. Mysore style is self practice under the gaze of the teacher, adjusting when needed, advising as necessary, and advancing when ready. Students ideally learn discipline, concentration and how to practice in a way that is ideal for their unique nature.
The Ashtanga vinyasa method is intended to be a daily practice. The practice takes place every day except Saturdays and Moon Days. If you are planning on coming less, please be respectful and patient.
In Mysore classes all students receive one to one attention from the teacher in a group setting. Students are taught new asanas and progress through the series appropriate to their unique condition and abilities. These will change sometimes day to day. In this way the teacher can facilitate the ideal practice for each student. Usually the first week we will start with Surynamaskara A (sun salutation a) and then add more at an appropriate pace. For people new to Ashtanga yoga, my teachers, the texts and I strongly encourage a one month commitment of at least 3 times a week. If you want change Run it as an experiment. New students are also welcome to come watch a class for before joining the University of Virginia Mysore classes. If you have a regular Mysore Ashtanga practice feel free to email me and please come visit!
When did yoga start for me? Yoga (matter, the self….) is neither created nor destroyed. That said,
· I was born to a loving Lutheran Pastor father and a supermom musician/Secretary in Augusta, Ga.
· I played outdoors. A lot.
· I played soccer, basketball, and football but Fell in love with Skateboarding in 1984 and did so most days till 2004. pure Skateboarding is yoga. Tapas, paradise visualization, vairaghya… there's a lot of similarities.
· I was handed a copy of the Bhagavad Gita I by the Harekrisnas in 1988. I read it. My father said, “what is that junk and where’d you get it” I said these people handed it to me at the airport. I didn't understand much of it then but have been appreciating it more and more through the years.
· There is much more to say about food but here's a start: I gave up: Livers 1982 (They induced a vomit reflex), pork chops and bacon in 1986, Hot dogs 1990, hamburger 1993, Beef 1995, Chicken 2001, and fish in 2005. Since then I have tried various diets, fasts, cleanses… and am vegetarian. While I know some of my non-vegan habits are not good for me I for better or worse enjoy a good cheese from time to time!
· Music major with an emphasis in voice and classical guitar 1996-1999; I was also in a few college india rock bands. It was fun.
· Went to yoga classes in 1998 at the University of Southern Mississippi.
· 1999-2001 I Took Ceramics classes and dove in completely.
· 1999-2001 BS in Geology. I had 187 credits in music which didn’t transfer. I worked at the Museum of natural history and was involved among other odd jobs painting murals, portraits, and anything I could do (but especially art related) to pay the bills.
· 2001-2002 worked as environmental Geologist in MS
· 2003-2005 Awarded Research assistantship and Studied Structural Geology and Tectonics under Distinguished Penrose medal geoScientist, Robert Hatcher at the University of Tennessee. Received MS in Geology and received field mapping awards.
· In 2006 Moved back to Western North Carolina and taught Geology at Western Carolina University and Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College. Taught college Intro, Environmental, and Historical Geology for 7 years.
· Started a daily Ashtanga practice 2005, Met R. Sharath Jois in Mysore India in 2007. I have been practicing daily since then and have made 13 trips to study in India. Sharath-ji asked me to be (not the other way around) "authorized level II" in 2012 and "Certified" in 2017.
· In 2006 I began study of Buddhism, Yoga, and Sanskrit through FPMT and ACI with whom I Traveled ~3x year for 4 years studying dharma with great exponents.
· Met John Campbell in 2008 at Pure Yoga East, New York City and decided that I wanted to learn from him as a stateside teacher. I assisted him 2010-2011.
· Learned pranayama first from Tim Miller, Then with John Campbell, Then during Kalachakra initiation with His Holiness the 14thDalai lama. I have been taught pranayama from Sharath-ji several times and practice it regularly.
· I assisted Sharath Jois 4 times in the main Shala from 2012-2016.
I plan to continue to learn from my teachers. I enjoy investigation and hope to always be a student.
Copyright © John Bultman 2022