Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is often thought of as a practice only for advanced practitioners. Well, that’s just not the case! When taught traditionally, in a Mysore style class, this practice is available to anyone and everyone. I know, call me crazy, but it’s true and I’m going to tell you why. In my opinion, here are three of the many reasons why Ashtanga Vinyasa is for beginners: it is taught incrementally, the practice is tailored to the individual, and by its very nature measuring your progress is easy.
Firstly, Ashtanga Vinyasa is taught incrementally. A Mysore style class means a self led practice and the teacher’s role is to empower the student with this sequence. By teaching a little at a time students are less likely to be overwhelmed and more likely to remember what they’ve been taught. Beginners are often asked to repeat the sequence to their stopping point so as to practice the physical asana and more importantly learn the sequence.
I was new to the yoga world when I first stepped foot into an Ashtanga Class. It was a Led primary class. (Led class means, that the teacher calls out the postures and vinyasas in counted movements, that link the postures with the breath.) The group moves and breaths in sync.
I must confess that I didn’t really have feelings either way about this style of yoga. I remember thinking that it was a physically demanding class, that had a ZILLION Chaturanga Dandasana's in it! (What crazy person puts themselves through this?!) The teacher was friendly and made me feel welcome, as did all the students in the room.
It wasn't until I went to an Ashtanga Mysore class that I experienced a true epiphany on what Yoga truly is (or had the potential to be, if I was able to become disciplined like all the practitioners around me.) I was in awe of everybody's beautiful poses, harmonious breathwork and most of all their strict dedication to the practice!
I instantly felt as if I was given a magic love potion and I understood right then and there that this wasn’t just merely a style of Yoga. This was a brilliantly, methodically thought out system that not only could change my body but also my spirit.
Ashtanga Vinyasa was created by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Krishnamacharya. Ashtanga literally translates to 8 limbs and is a set series of postures. There is a total of 6 series throughout the entire system. In the traditional practice of Ashtanga, called Mysore (named after the city in India that it originated from), each student practices the set sequence one-on-one within a group setting. The student works at their own pace with the assistance of their teacher in the room.
I have a ton of reasons why I love this practice, here’s my top 5:
At Ignite Yoga, we believe that yoga is for everyone–For people of all ages and all walks of life.