Ashtanga Yoga

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Most yoga that we practice in the West can trace its roots back to Sri T. Krishnamacharya’s Ashtanga yoga system. Krishnamacharya is credited with the revival of hatha yoga and is often referred to as “the father of modern yoga”. He taught his students the practice of Ashtanga yoga while in Mysore, India. Many of his students are well known today for bringing yoga to the West including, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar, TKV Desikachar, and Indra Devi.

Pattabhi Jois (Guruji) is credited with establishing the Ashtanga yoga sequence as we practice it today in the West. His grandson, Sharath Jois, is currently recognized as the lineage holder of Ashtanga yoga.

Ashtanga means “Eight Limbs”

Asana (the physical practice) is just one of the branches of the yoga system. To learn more about the eight limbs, click here.

Questions you may have before starting an ashtanga practice…

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Is Ashtanga yoga harder than other styles of yoga?

Ashtanga yoga requires practice, discipline, and patience. It is meant to challenge you. However, underlying all of Krishnamacharya’s teachings was the principle, “teach what is appropriate for the individual.” This is why learning Ashtanga, Mysore-style, is this most traditional and safest way to learn the sequence. While Ashtanga provides a structure, the practice can be modified and adjusted for the individual. In Mysore, the practitioner learns at their own pace and adds on more difficult postures when they are ready.

 What is Mysore style Ashtanga?

Mysore style is the traditional method of practicing Ashtanga vinyasa. Instruction is one-on-one in a group setting. The teacher helps each student memorize a prescribed portion of the Ashtanga sequence while providing assists and/or verbal instruction. Each posture builds onto the next and with practice, you will slowly add on new poses. While it’s an independent practice, the Mysore room is a place for joining community as well. We show up to support one another in daily practice with love and breath.

Do I need to have the practice memorized to attend Mysore?

You do NOT need to have any of the practice memorized. This is the traditional method of learning the Ashtanga sequence. You can show up having never practiced yoga. You will slowly memorize the sequence with help from a teacher. “Cheat Sheets” can also be found online.  Before you know it, with patience and repetition, your body will know where it’s going and the practice becomes a moving meditation.

When?

Mysore: Every Tuesday and Thursday (Doors open at 5:30am and close at 7:30am).

Ashtanga Basics: Every Wednesday (teacher leads practice 9-10:15am)

Led Primary Series: Every Sunday (teacher leads 12-1:30pm)

Where?

All practices take place at a donation based studio, Elevate Community Yoga. (<— click for more info)

Do I have to show up at 5:30am for Mysore practice?

When you begin Mysore practice, your practice may be only 15 minutes. As your body opens and you learn more postures, your practice will get longer. Show up whenever you’d like with enough time to finish your practice by 7:30.

What is a Led Primary Series?

In the West we are accustomed to practicing in large groups by a teacher who leads us as a collective. Mysore may feel intimidating and it’s natural to want to start with a group class. Please understand that practicing a Led Primary Series is the most challenging way to practice Ashtanga yoga. You will be practicing the full series as a group and moving into postures that your body may not be ready for. Please take care to modify.

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I’m nervous. Am I ready for Mysore practice?

If the Mysore practice interests you, there is no need to feel intimidated! (I get it, I felt intimidated too!) After years of taking group vinyasa and hot yoga classes, I soon found the Mysore room to be incredibly supportive. In Mysore, your teacher learns your needs and limitations while also encouraging your ability, autonomy, and discovery of your personal practice. No matter how inflexible, stiff, young or old, ANYONE can start Mysore practice right now!

Do what feels best for you… led classes, basics, Mysore… contact me with any questions!

Follow @ashtangayogamodesto on Instagram for more info!

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