We teach Ashtanga Yoga because we believe it is the most empowering yoga possible. In the Ashtanga system, you learn a set sequence that you can practice anytime, anywhere. This is your self-practice and it is called “Mysore” style, named after the city it came from in India. We also teach led classes, where everyone practices together simultaneously.
Ashtanga is different from Vinyasa Flow in that each pose is held for five breaths. In the Ashtanga system, there are also a number of vinyasas between poses. “Vinyasa” in Sanskrit literally means ‘linking pose’. These linking poses reset the body from the previous pose and prepare it for the next pose. If you’ve done yoga before, you’ve done a vinyasa – chaturanga, up dog, down dog! That’s a vinyasa.
With a set sequence, you will practice the same poses day after day. Is that boring? Well, if you have sat down to “meditate” and found that within 5 seconds your brain is wondering a) when to have pizza, b) who’s on Insta, c) if the laundry is finished, then you’ll know that trying to quiet the mind is anything BUT boring! We believe this system is the best way to calm the mind, steady the nervous system, and bring about balance. Rather than constantly looking outside to the yoga teacher, you’ll look inside.
Ashtanga allows you to sink deeper, practice stillness, keep focus.
Many people have this perception. When vinyasas are linked between poses, yes, that does increase the intensity. Is it hard? Perhaps at first, until you build some strength. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to modify both the vinyasas and the sequence itself to make it more accessible. Will there be poses you can’t do? Well, maybe! But if you could do all the poses, what would you have to learn? (And if you can do all the poses, contact us so we can hire YOU!)
Indeed! What is this sequence? Will you be forced to put your legs behind your head? Or up your nose?
We won’t ask you to put anything up your nose that you don’t want to.
There are lots of resources and reliable teachers in the Ashtanga community. Google ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ and you’ll get sucked into a deliciously deep rabbit hole. To save you from the rabbits, you can access the sequence here thanks to Ashtanga Dispatch, Peg Mulqueen’s site and podcast.
Here are of the common poses, including the “harder” ones, from the Primary Series:
Just kidding about that last image. We won’t ask you to do that. And we’re kidding about the one with people laughing too. There’s no laughing on the course.*
Well, good! If you had nothing to learn, where would you be in life? You would be perfect! And where’s the fun in that? How can you possibly develop as a human if you can already do e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.?! That’s the joy of learning! And right now, someone else on your course is thinking the saaaaaame thing. You are not alone. There are lots of ways to modify poses so that your body works to the best of your abilities. Tada!
*Again, we were kidding. Go ahead and laugh! Guffaw! It’s okay!