Maia Heissis a direct student of the late master of Ashtanga Yoga, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Based in California and New York, she is the only woman in either of these two states to have been issued an official advanced teaching certificate by Jois. There are not many more than two dozen of the thousands of Jois's students worldwide who have received this prestigious honor.
This is me pictured with a very great man, a man who in his lifetime gave to humanity a huge contribution in Hatha Yoga. This is Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. He left us tangible and effective teachings in a clear and precise system as well as a team of teachers to pass them along.
I am one of those teachers -- for this I am honored and humbly dedicate my own Ashtanga Yoga teachings to him. I call him Guruji and I am forever grateful to him for his work in this world and for his help to me personally.
The Ashtanga Yoga of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is like a map, the destination of which is supremely important. If the practitioner carefully studies the details of the map, it's destination is revealed.
What is the destination? Why it is YOGA, of course.
This practice of Yoga that Guruji set forth is basic and simple and once it is done correctly, it's aim, Yoga, truly is "automatically coming" as Guruji would often say. The mind, he would say, is "automatically flooding to the self". No, there is no avoiding the self in true Yoga, or overcoming the self, there is only knowing the self well enough to reach it's greatest depth and thus merge with the greatest wholeness of everything! In Guruji's system this is done simply by practicing the prescribed set of Asanas linked just so with each breath, with attention to Tristana. That is what I teach: this sequence of Asanas as my Guru taught them to me, and I guide my students to make a study of Vinyasa and Tristana.
To really know Yoga, one must merge with it like water merges with a stream: the water does not just look at the stream and make the shape of a stream, it becomes the stream. Similarly, one cannot just look at these postures and make the shape of them and then call it Yoga. In order to really practice Yoga, one must use the postures as tools to find the Yoga, one must be in the stream and feel the ocean as the inextricable destiny all the while being pushed along by the waters behind. My Guru brought me in to the stream, that flowing knowledge of Yoga, and he pushed me along. He was a master. My teacher's teacher, T. Krishnamancharya was also a master who learned from a master and so on... All these great teachers studied with someone who understood Yoga deeply. This is what it is like to learn Yoga through a lineage -- Yoga is both at the source of the teachings and is as well the destination -- teacher and student connect through the unifying force of this exchange and the Yoga becomes known.
In passing on Guruji's teachings, I feel that my work for him is as no more than that of a translator. Somehow, I was lucky enough to understand him despite the language gap, the generation gap, the culture gap, etc., and so was able to glean the essentials that he was teaching. Guruji gave me his map and made sure I knew how to use it, for this I am very grateful and I do my best in my own way, unique to my self, to reveal this map to my students so that they may also understand.
_Maia C. Heiss
Maia guides all practitioners to maintain their focus on yoga. Her approach is thoughtful and compassionate as she helps each student to cultivate a sustainable practice that complements his/her individual life and self. Known for her ability to clearly illuminate the simplicity of the Ashtanga Yoga method, she is able to show students how they can use the inherent intelligence of the method to move through obstacles and create a peaceful yet powerful practice that renders freedom in the body, spirit and mind.