Surprising Reasons Ashtanga Yoga Is Perfect For Beginners
One of my life missions is to spread this important message: Ashtanga yoga is 100% suitable for beginners!
Theres so much inspirational content out there from experienced Ashtanga yoga practitioners , which is awesome. But sometimes this can fool people into thinking you have to have an advanced practice before even beginning to learn this style of yoga.
This is such a shame because its not the case at all, my friends! And Ill be damned if Im going to let you miss out on such a magical practice because of this misconception.
Im here to convince you that Ashtanga yoga is perfect for beginners.
Where Did Ashtanga Yoga Begin
Originally, Ashtanga Yoga was created by T. Krishnamacharya as an individualized practice for his young energetic student K. Pattabhi Jois in the early 20th century. The fast paced sun salutation movements are thought to have been influenced by the exercises of Indian wrestlers and gymnasts. Jois was a dedicated student, and he further refined and promoted this new style and soon began teaching others. These exhilarating and challenging posture flows were designed to purify the body to offer peace of mind, and eventually gave rise to many different styles of hot yoga, flow or Vinyasa Yoga, and power yoga.
The Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, which promotes the teachings and trainings of Ashtanga, is located in Mysore, India. Pattabhi Joiss grandson, R. Sharath Jois, is the current director of the institute and is the senior authority on the practice. There are many other famous Ashtanga yoga instructors teaching all over the world including David Swenson, Kino MacGregor, Richard Freeman, Maty Ezraty, Tim Miller, David Williams, Chuck Miller, and Tim Feldmann.
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How To Get Started With Yoga At Home
Yoga is all about mindful movement ;doing exercise that supports your physical body while also allowing you to access a meditative state. It should calm you, while also energising your body and releasing tension. You should keep this in mind when starting your at-home yoga practice.
To get started, youll need to first decide what kind of yoga you want to practice and how you would like to practice it. This comes down to choosing your space for your practice, learning some yoga poses , and ensuring you have everything you need to get the most out of yoga.
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Track Your Progress With An App
Use technology to your advantage with the Ekaminhale Daily Yoga Practice App. This App lets you note down your practice in a calendar, something that is perfect for home practitioners who may need that feeling of accountability. This could be a game-changer and even has the moon days noted.
This is where you can get the app from
- Android Ekaminhale Daily Yoga App
Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series Yoga Practice Workout Session At Home
Ashtanga Yoga is an intense and disciplined form of Yoga practice, it consists of a series of vinyasas, yoga postures performed in a sequence that creates a flow of movement throughout the session. Traditionally it starts and finishes with a;mantra recitation to express the wish for healing, prosperity and acknowledgement of Patanjali.
The regular practice of Ashtanga Yoga can improve your fitness level and wellbeing, as the constant repetition of a wide range of postures can increase your stamina and flexibility. Ashtanga Yoga also builds the upper body strength and improves your posture. The regular practice of ashtanga yoga, together with a healthy diet can help you to lose weight, keep fit and athletic. The dynamic nature of ashtanga creates an excellent combination of cardio and tone workout, helping you to keep in good shape with a healthy body and mind.
Start the Ashtanga Yoga Workout
You can start the ashtanga yoga workout with the;standing forward bend sequence, as it helps to stretch the muscles in preparation for the session.
Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series Yoga Lesson
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The Home Practitioners Ashtanga Yoga Resource Guide
Ashtanga home practitioners are some of the most committed and devoted group of students Ive ever come across. Im serious theyre serious!;And maybe thats because practicing with no consistent, daily support forces them to develop an unusual tenacity, resilience, and adaptability.
Amongst this group are teachers themselves, mothers and fathers, working professionals, college students, and many others who enjoy the intimacy of a personal home practice.
Personally, I love being a home practitioner. Its a huge responsibility for sure but with enormous benefits. And when I am fortunate enough to be with a teacher and a community, I value that time more than I ever had before.
You learn to be creative when you practice at home.
But heres the thing just because you practice solo doesnt mean youre forced to go it alone. And so luckily, there are many tools and teachers putting themselves out there to help along the way. Im not saying theres any book or video that can ever replace a nurturing and supportive relationship with an experienced teacher. Still, that doesnt mean you cant learn a thing our two outside of that.
Below is a growing library of resources with links to the specific ones we either personally own, use, or follow as well.;Please dont forget to bookmark this page so you can revisit as your practice change.
The Power Of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing A Practice That Will Bring You Strength Flexibility And Inner Peace By Kino Macgregor
Kino MacGregor is one of only fourteen people in the USA to receive certification to teach Ashtanga from its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She is a popular teacher within the yoga community and this book is a favourite for learning the principles of Ashtanga!;
Kino breaks down each pose into actionable steps, as well as the fundamental connection of breath, posture and gaze.
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Ashtanga Yoga Is A Life
The tradition of Ashtanga is a practice that you will always continue to learn from, no matter what series you may be in. There will always be subtleties of each series that you will notice as you progress through the different series.;You will see the importance of the Primary series, or notice how the subtleties of the series effects what you are doing in the Intermediate. The way the series compliment one another and how they work to make a more complete and balanced practice is what constitutes a life-long Ashtanga practice.;Whether you choose to go to led classes or you progress to the Mysore classes, the Ashtanga practice will be a life-long partner in helping to make you a better person physically, mentally, and spiritually.;Have you tried Ashtanga Yoga before? Which practice best suits your individual needs as a yoga student? We love hearing from you in the comments below. Namaste, yogis!;
Postures Have Multiple Intentions
While many postures might be considered to have a primary intention, most postures have many aspects. So, if we know the postures in primary series and how they are all related to one another, we might want to wait to add the next posture until there is ease and stability in the primary aspect and possibly a secondary aspect of a posture were already working on. Lets take the example of marichyasana A, B, C, and D.
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What Makes Our Ashtanga Yoga Training Stand Out
Feel Free and Get Relaxed
Your health is important for leading a happy life. The practice of various types of yoga will help you relieve stress and anxiety. You will feel free as you move on with the daily practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga asanas.
We help you discover the healing and strengthening power of yoga by making you understand what is Ashtanga yoga, helping you turn your body, mind, and soul completely relaxed.
Heal the Body and Mind
During your Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga training at our yoga school in Rishikesh, you will be given assistance on all aspects like physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
All the Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teachings will be provided by our highly expert yoga teachers, having years of experience, that will help in the overall improvement of your physical and mental well being.
Get Healthy Ayurvedic Meals
At our Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga school, you will be provided with completely Satvik food, keeping nutritions in mind and prepared using fresh ingredients. Satvik food or yogic food is a nutritionally balanced diet that helps you stay healthy and fit during the yoga practice. Having such vegan or vegetarian meals will naturally cleanse your body and mind and strengthen your body.
Say Bye to Over thinking
New Place New Challenge
Home practice in a new location brought new challenges, less late night debris rather the friendly interjections of family members who were awake early enough to cross my path. I would find myself struggling with deep frustration when a family member would try to have a polite conversation with me whilst I was doing my finishing sequence anything as friendly as see you later, love or what time will you be finished? might be enough to make me feel thoroughly cheesed-off for the rest of practice.
Fortunately, Im now less phased by interruptions in yoga practice, Ive adjusted as kids wander in and out of the space where Im practising, making noises corresponding to some imaginary game being played out, or asking the odd question, some pressing, others abstract. Now that Ive accepted this as an inevitable part of home practice, it doesnt seem to bother me much.
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Breathing During Ashtanga Practice
Ujjayi translates as victorious. The chief characteristic of this pranayama is the slight hissing noise created by partially closing the glottis of the throat. Familiar to many yoga practitioners. However, full Ujjayi pranayama is more than just the sound, involving a further technique. Helpful for vata imbalance and very calming to the nervous system.;
Deep breathing with a sound in and out through the nose. The sound is coming from the back of the throat and the breath;
What About Guided Group Classes
If youre not sure about Mysore-style yoga, you can still try guided Ashtanga classes in many yoga studios.
In this format, you wont be able to learn the full Primary Series as its not safe for a teacher to give everyone all of the more advanced postures unless they know the students are ready. They need to be broken down in a lot of detail that just isnt possible in a class of mixed-ability students all at one time.
But you may be able to learn HALF of the Primary Series, or at least a modified version of it.
I teach many guided/talked-through Ashtanga Yoga classes in London if you fancy checking them out. I enjoy teaching them as its a great way to get students interested in Ashtanga so I can encourage them to begin to practise Mysore-style!
In those kind of classes, youll follow a similar structure to the one I shared above, but there will be fewer standing postures, fewer seated postures and probably a modified version of the finishing sequence.
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Aspects Of Our Decision
If you have a regular teacher who is further along in the yoga practice than you, then they are likely working with you to assess your practice in its context and help you answer these questions from a more objective point of view. But what if you dont live near a Mysore teacher and life circumstances are such that you are primarily a home practitioner? How do you know when to add poses in primary series?
There is, of course, no one single answer to this question. Probably you could say there are as many answers to this question as there are teachers and students. The heart of the question has to do with what we understand as our intention or intentions for practice. Why are we practicing?
I think there are two aspects to the answer to this question: an anatomical answer and a yoga answer. Ill include both the anatomy aspect and the broader yoga aspect in my answer. We can first acknowledge that its likely that some part of our reason for doing practice is the physical benefit. We might appreciate that doing practice has made us stronger and/or more flexible or we might have a more general intention of just wanting more ease in our body and appreciate that practice can assist us in feeling better in our body. This is one intention for practice. In response to this intention, Ill discuss the anatomy from the perspective of anatomical patterns that could help you decide when to move on with additional postures in primary series.
Be Flexible With The Duration
Your Ashtanga yoga practice can be as long as you want it to be. Just one thing to make sure is that you always do the sun salutations and a version of the finishing postures. It is up to you how much of the standing and then seated postures you want to practice.
And so your practice can last 90 minutes every day. Or, it can last 15 minutes one day, 30 minutes another and 45 the next. It is up to you.
I remember being surprised when I figured this out. It was when I was going through David Swensons book Ashtanga Yoga The Practice Manual. At the end of his book, he has the Short Forms as names it, with 3 short forms of practice, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 45-minute versions of the Ashtanga yoga practice.
He went on to explain the benefits of creating shorter practices:
Take pleasure in your practice. It is good to finish a session and be looking forward to the next one, rather than making our practice so difficult that we create a loathsome duty of it.
David Swenson, Ashtanga Yoga The Practice Manual
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All About Ashtanga Mysore Classes
If you are new to Ashtanga yoga, Oniwosan recommends beginning with a Mysore class because you get more individual instruction on how to do the poses correctly.
For example, an instructor will give you specific cues and hands-on adjustments to achieve proper alignment in the poses and coach you on how to match your breath to your movement. Essentially, Ashtanga Mysore is a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with an instructor.
“In class, you will get personal treatment and the teacher will give you poses based on where you are, and once you feel comfortable, new poses are added,” Oniwosan says.
Ashtanga Mysore classes are progressive, so you’ll finish each series of postures before moving on to the next. You’ll do the same poses, typically starting with sun salutations, and add in new ones as you progress. If you learn through repetition, it offers a great way to perfect your form.
“When you go to a Mysore class, it will be nothing like you experienced before,” Oniwosan says. “You will see people going into poses that may make you want to run or inspire you to commit to the practice.”
Ashtanga Mysore is typically taught in two-hour time slots, where students can come and leave the studio whenever they’d like within those two hours. Whether you practice for the full two hours or just 30 minutes is up to you.
Ashtanga : Welcome To Ashtanga
Heres the truth: Starting an Ashtanga practice is hard. Yoga is often misrepresented as being all happy feelings and pretty asanas, or my personal favorite relaxing.;But the fact is that getting serious about your practice is a challenging endeavor. The thing is, though, that thats the case with starting anything new. It makes us feel awkward and frustrated and challenged. Starting something new is a struggle.
A big part of an Ashtanga practice is learning to honor the struggle.
Unfortunately, the struggle is a hard sell. Yoga is sold as a feel-good, relaxing experience, when the truth is that a daily Ashtanga practice will make you work. There will be a lot of difficult steps along the way and there will probably be days that you dont want to practice.
The benefits of an Ashtanga practice, though, far outweigh the struggles that they grow from. If you engage wholeheartedly, your practice will change you first it will change your body, then it will change your mind, and then it will change your behavior. And thats when it starts to change your life.
Strictly speaking, an Ashtanga asana practice is six asana sequences that are practiced with prescribed drishti, breath, and duration, and a pranayama sequence that is equally well defined.
Try to be consistent with a practice time and set a routine to help you make it to your mat. Showing up is the hardest part its much easier to keep going than it is to get started.
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Its Not Really Designed For Beginners
Ashtanga yoga poses require strength, self-discipline, and determination. Classes can be quite intense and you may find them tough if you are brand new to yoga.
Wed recommend looking into hatha yoga first and learning some of the basic poses, rather than jumping straight into Ashtanga.
Having said this, one of the good things about ashtanga yoga is that it is practiced in Mysore style. Mysore is the city where ashtanga originated from and basically means supervised self-practice. By making ashtanga more of an individual practice, students are able to move through sequences at their own pace.
The teacher will supervise each student individually, only adding a new pose to their practice when they feel they are ready. They will also advise students when they can move on from the primary series to intermediate.