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David Williams in the DR


Ashtanga Yoga for the Rest of Your Life

Hosted by Chrissy Lefavour + Grateful Yoga

Cabarete, Dominican Republic

February 13-17, 2018

David and Manju.JPG

This is a rare and wonderful opportunity to study Yoga with the man who brought Ashtanga Yoga out of India.

David Williams has been practicing yoga daily, without interruption, since 1971.

In 1972, David met K. P. Manju , the son of K. Pattabhi Jois, and saw him demonstrate the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series. This was at Dr. Swami Gitananda's Ananda Ashram in Pondicherry, South India, where David received his Six Month Yoga Teachers Training Course Certification. 

In 1973, David began learning Ashtanga Yoga from K. Pattabhi Jois at his home in Mysore, India, and he became the first non-Indian taught the complete Ashtanga Yoga system of asanas and pranayama directly from Jois. In 1974, David became one of the first non-Indians certified to teach the Ashtanga Yoga asanas.  He is also one of the few people ever certified by Jois to teach the Ashtanga Yogapranayama.

In 1975, David introduced K. Pattabhi Jois and Manju Jois to America when he, along with Nancy Gilgoff, organized and sponsored their first visit to Encinitas, California.

David is responsible for teaching the Ashtanga Yoga system to many of today's leading teachers and practitioners, including David Swenson, Danny Paradise, Cliff Barber, Baptiste Marceau, Bryan Kest, Jonny Kest, Clifford Sweatte, Ricky Tran, Kathy Cooper, and Andrew Eppler. 

David is 68 years old. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has lived on the island of Maui, Hawaii, since 1976.  

Prospective Class Schedule:

Tuesday, Feb 13, 5-7 pm Meet and Greet. Meet David Williams learn about how Ashtanga yoga has become an enjoyable daily practice. Stories and questions will be shared!

Wednesday, Feb 14-Friday, Feb 16:

  • 10 am-Noon Talk and Practice. This will be our early morning asana practice, accompanied with David's own stories and explanations of the practice. A progression will be made throughout the week to an all accessible intro to the intermediate series. 
  • 5-7 pm History, Discussion, Questions + Pranayama. The evenings will be spent in learning more about Ashtanga yoga. Questions will be answered and lecture topics will include lineage, how the practice has evolved and how to practice Ashtanga Yoga for the Rest of Your Life! Pranayama practice will be included in the evening session as well.

Saturday, Feb 17 Morning Practice. A final class will be held pre-checkout time on Saturday morning, time TBD. A chance to move your body before traveling, to ask final questions and to continue the practice!


What's Included:

  • 5 days/4 nights accommodations at the eXtreme hotel (double or single rooms available). This eco-friendly, solar powered hotel is located directly on Kite Beach with a gym, restaurant, pool and circus school on site. All rooms have a private balcony and small fridge.
  • Breakfast and Dinner included daily from La Mesa Taina. Enjoy farm-to-table meals prepared from local, fresh organic ingredients. All dietary needs can be met with advance notice.
  • Yoga with David. 7 classes and a meet and greet with David Williams. The Yoga Loft offers the best views, tranquil ocean waves and a sea breeze. For more info on David Williams click here! Also, scroll down to read his open letter to all students...
  • Afternoon Excursion. Add in a tour of the farm where our food will be sourced from during your stay. Learn about aquaponics, permaculture and sustainability. This excursion is complete with lunch cooked fresh on the farm and tube down the lazy river!! Cost: $40 USD.


$850 shared room with 1 other yogi, $890 includes farm tour

$950 private room, $990 includes farm tour

Email with any questions!

An open letter from David:

Greetings and Salutations from Maui!

When I teach Yoga, I am always reminded that there are some major concepts about how Ashtanga Yoga is taught and practiced, based on my personal study, observation, and uninterrupted practice, that I feel are important to share with my classes.

First, and foremost, I hope you can learn from me that in your practice, "If it hurts, you are doing it wrong." Through the years, I have observed that too many people are hurting themselves and hurting others. Yoga practice can be (and should be) pleasant from the beginning to the end. What is important is the mula bandha and deep breathing. With daily practice, it is inevitable that one will become more flexible.

From my own practice and observation, I learned that pushing your current limitations to get into a position could result in injury, which results in one needing to rest the injury to recover so they can resume their practice. This entire sequence of events is not only unpleasant, it is contrary to my belief that through slow, steady, daily practice one can achieve greater flexibility by generating one's own internal heat to relax into positions, rather than being forced into a position. I have observed this slower, steadier method is not only healthier, but it allows one to develop greater flexibility of a more lasting nature, than the kind that is forced. Unfortunately, as many have found, pushing one's current limitations can result in having to severely curtail or limit activity during recovery. This cycle can lead to unpleasant associations with one's Yoga practice, rather than the pleasant experiences I work to instill, and that I feel are necessary for a lifelong practice.

In my workshop, I want to show each of you how you can do the Ashtanga Yoga series in a lifelong practice that is a completely pleasant experience.

I suspect that when you first saw the practice, you said to yourself, "If I did this, it would be great for me!" So, here you are--you have observed the practice, and you want to continue it. The key is being able to continue practicing Yoga for the rest of your life. From over 40 years of observing thousands of people practicing Yoga, I realize that those who continue are the ones who are able to figure out how to make it enjoyable. They look forward to their daily practice and nothing can keep them from finding the time to do it. It becomes one of the most pleasant parts of their day. The others, consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously, quit practicing. It is my goal to do everything I can to inspire you to establish your Yoga practice, not just for the few days we are together, but for the rest of your life.

Secondly, I hope to share with you my belief that the ultimate goal of Yoga is not to increase flexibility and strength. Increased flexibility and strength are simply the natural results and benefits of daily practice. While additional flexibility and strength are important and apparent benefits of Yoga, I believe the goals of Yoga practice are self-realization and keeping oneself balanced and healthy on a daily basis. Health is your greatest wealth. The body's DNA knows how to heal itself; all it needs is the energy. The energizing, rejuvenating Yoga practices can be the source of this energy.

Lastly, I hope you will find that my workshop is for everyone at all levels. Occasionally I asked if someone is "good at Yoga." I quickly respond that the best Yogi is not the one who is most flexible, but the one who is the most focused on what he or she is doing, the one most intensely doing the mula bandha and deep breathing. It is with some sadness that I have observed people "competing with their Yoga practice." I have also observed others who are discouraged in their practice because they feel this competition and worry that they will never be able to do their practice with the flexibility and skill of others more advanced in the series. My goal is to convey the idea that the greatest Yogi is the one who enjoys his or her Yoga practice the most, not the one who can achieve the ultimate pretzel position. It is my belief, which I hope to convey to you, that in your practice of this moving meditation, what is important, is what is invisible to the observer, what is within each of you.

I believe in the Yoga. I believe that anyone who has the desire can do the Ashtanga practice, perhaps with personal modifications, in a way that is pleasant. For years, I have said, "If someone said to me, 'You have 15 minutes, one hour, etc., do something good for yourself. You can use barbells, bicycles, or whatever,' I would start doing the Ashtanga Yoga Salutations to the Sun and Primary Series." If someone can show me something better, I am ready to learn it. In my more than 40 years of searching, I have learned five or six systems of Yoga practice. For myself, I have not found a better physical, mental, and emotional fitness program than the Ashtanga Yoga system. I hope you will feel the same after our days together.

I look forward to sharing my practice and experience with you.

Yours in Yoga,

David Williams

Earlier Event: October 6
1-3 Week Retreat in the DR
Later Event: March 24
Caribbean SUPYO Retreat