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Merritt James - Personal Biography

Merritt James

Merritt has been a long-time student and close friend of Nancy Gilgoff since he first came to Maui in 2002. He considers himself fortunate to be drawn to her branch of the Ashtanga yoga lineage and to have her as his mentor. Although he first met his guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, on Maui in 2002, Merritt originally started his Ashtanga practice in Austin, Texas in 1999.

"Guruji's 2002 world tour was amazing. I volunteered to sweep the floor before class, so I got to put my mat in the front row with the 'old' students. I still needed a lot of help with primary back then, and Guruji adjusted me in almost every posture. I couldn't wait to get to Mysore."

In the spring of 2003, Merritt moved onto Nancy's property in a small cabin to save money to go to Mysore, and thus began an apprenticeship. Living under the eye of his teacher, he was given much instruction on everything about daily life. Each afternoon was like an informal satsang on her porch. After attending one of Nancy's adjustment clinics that fall, Merritt started learning to adjust in the room with her twice a week.

In December of 2003, Merritt made his first trip to Mysore. He stayed in Mysore until April of 2004, then returned home to Maui keep training and learning to teach.

In 2007, Merritt was asked to go to Bangkok, Thailand to teach Ashtanga yoga. He stayed for almost 2 years until he returned in 2009 to Maui to continue with his teacher Nancy and open his own studio. Ashtanga Northshore is a small space where Merritt can give much attention to both beginning and advanced students. Merritt teaches daily with love and respect to both his guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and his teacher, Nancy Gilgoff.


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