Ashtanga Yoga in Tulum with Jayson Barniske

Todd McLaughlin

I feel honored to have the opportunity to speak today with Jayson Barniske. Jason is down in Tulum, Mexico. I had the opportunity of meeting Jayson at a Second Series Teacher Training with Tim Miller in California quite a few years back. I’m really excited to have this opportunity to reconnect with him. Jason, can you hear me?

Jayson Barniske

Yeah, I can. Thank you for having me today, Todd. It’s a privilege and honor to be on your podcast I’ve been listening to for a long time. And I’m excited that we get to do this today.


Oh, man. Well, I really appreciate that. I appreciate that feedback. And so I just figured we could jump in on the fact that you had made mention to me that today marks the grand opening of your Ashtanga Yoga Tulum Shala in Tulum in Mexico, is that correct?


Well, so….. today is the groundbreaking. So we’re building the floor today. Yeah, the groundbreaking. We’re building the floor. So it should be opened in about 30 days from now, but I am really excited! The floor is going to be built and handmade out of all local woods and then it’s gonna be a beautiful bamboo structure that’s over a raw, vegan, gluten free restaurant called Raw Love in the center of Tulum.


Whoa, you know, I just was looking at your Instagram page right before we’re got on this call, and so that everyone can find you it’s @jbarniske on IG. I’ll put that link in the show notes below so people can easily connect with you via that medium. And then I’m really curious, how long have you been in Tulum?


I’ve been here for about two years. And the reason I came down here, right before COVID hit, I was living in Imperial Valley, about an hour east of San Diego and California. I was working at Desert Yoga and Wellness and teaching a lot of yoga. When COVID hit everything closed down. When I saw that the saloon and bar was still open it got me thinking. Interestingly enough, in California, they started opening the bars and other lower vibrational establishments. Yet they left the yoga studios closed. So it’s really important for me to kind of keep teaching. The online is is great but I had moved down here to Tulum and was in classes with large amounts of people. It was really, really refreshing to move down here. When I came down here, to this place, it kind of just grew on me. The vibration of people down here is incredible. Alot of people say that Tulum is an energy vortex. So there’s lots of people who come down here for looking for spiritual growth and to connect to nature. I really just fell in love with Tulum and am enjoying making my home here.


That’s awesome! I know we share a teacher who we both really love and appreciate, Tim Miller. I know Tim had held retreats down in Tulum. I’ve never been to on of them though. I had heard how amazing it was….. did you go down there and practice with him when he was holding retreats in the past?


You know, it’s very interesting now. That was the only other time I’d heard of Tulum before moving down here was because of Tim. And it’s funny, but I seem to cross many of his same paths. He did a retreat at Maya Tulum. So I’m hoping later this year to do a retreat possibly at Maya Tulum, and have the same place that he used to do that. But no, I never came down here. It’s very interesting, coming down here and kind of following in his footsteps, has had, you know, such a profound impact on my life. I was lucky enough to meet him when I was 21 years old. And I remember the first teacher training I went to in 2009. With him, most of the people at the training had been doing yoga longer than I’ve been alive. And it was an incredibly humbling and enlightening experience that left me inspired to continue doing yoga. Really intensely ever since then,


Wasn’t the vibe in that area of San Diego just absolutely amazing? Was Tim still on E Street at that time in Encinitas? Or had he moved to the Carlsbad location by then?


Yeah, by the time I had met him, he was already in the forum at Carlsbad upstairs location. And I remember my first class going there I was in Mysore. I had completed the first series and this somehow inflating my ego. I was practicing next to these four women who are in their mid 60s. And each one of them was doing third and fourth series like standing up with their leg behind their head, all these things. I remember I was working on Marichyasana D and I had a pool of sweat that was so like, huge around me. Tim was standing there, and I felt him coming in to adjust me. And he slipped. And the next thing I looked up and Tim was sitting in my lap. I thought, “Oh no!” I nearly killed the guru with my profuse sweating. He continued to put me into the pose, and I had made the bind. Afterwards, he ended up giving me his mat cover. And I remember he said, “if Jason had a sign, it would be slippery when wet.” (Lots of laughter)


I know, I feel like we could just sit here for a whole hour and much more just just recounting classic tales of the Timji at work!


Oh Yeah!


The little things he would say always seemed so profound. Well, on that note, I saw one of the quotes that you put on your Instagram post was “Don’t tell Hanuman how big your problems are. Tell your problems how big Hanuman is.” I love that. That’s awesome. Did you come up with that? Or did you hear that somewhere?


I didn’t come up with that. A lot of times what I do is first thing when I wake up in the morning, is I just look and read for personal inspiration. So maybe I go on like the Self-realization Instagram page. Or maybe I’ll go on just some other Bhakti Instagram pages and find a meme and try to share that with my students. Yeah, and I will just spend time thinking on it it for about 10 minutes. It’s so amazing that Tim took so much time to teach us beyond just the third limb of Ashtanga Yoga. Beyond just the asanas. And like just how much effort he put into taking us into this world of bhakti and teaching us the stories of the Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata. How he was always encouraging us to slow down and study on the Yoga Sutras, and then we dive into these other texts. Wow, it’s really been been incredible for me. So thinking about Tim, thinking about my whole story and kind of thinking about my biggest message is that I’ve kind of learned through yoga and what I’d like to share is this process that I’ve worked out. I’ve really been diving deep into is the question of how do we transform our sufferings into a blessing. 

A wonderful way that I like to tell my story is to say the three worst things that ever happened to me in my life. And then the three best things that ever happened to me in my life, because that helps me to see how all these things are totally lined up. And none of the good things could have happened without the bad things happening to me………..

I highly recommend listening to the full podcast discussion. You won’t want to miss the rest of Jayson’s story. He tells it with such a strong sense of stability even though it rocked me to my core to hear it. You can listen to the full episode and conversation for free here.

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