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Ashtanga Yoga: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

Ashtanga yoga literally means "The Eight Limbs of Yoga". The eight limbs of yoga consisting of yama (moral observance) niyama (inner integrity), asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (drawing back the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditiation) and samadhi (a state of joy and peace). Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is a vigorous system of yoga that involves synchronizing the breath with a progressive series of postures. ...
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, as developed by Krishnamacharya and furthered by his student, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, is a form based on a sequence of dynamically performed asanas (physical movements or postures) aimed at building balanced physical strength and mental/spiritual stability. Ultimately each movement is coordinated with prescribed breathing and drishti (gaze points) that focus the eyes and instill a meditative concentration. ...
It is a method of Yoga that focuses on practicing a progressive set of postures (asanas) synchronized with the breath. The breath and movement synchronization (vinyasa) is the key to this practice. Moving on the correct vinyasa together with practicing the bandhas (energy locks) produces internal heat. The body starts a deep detoxifying process, ridding the body of toxins, improving circulation and removing impurities from the internal organs. ...
The practice of Ashtanga yoga is an ancient and powerful discipline for cultivating physical, mental and spiritual health. Progressive techniques of breath, posture and movement cleanse, stretch and strengthen the body as well as focus and calm the mind. A deeper experience of self becomes possible through consistent practice – Tim Miller. Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic, athletic style of yoga.....come prepared to challenge yourself!
Power yoga is another name for Ashtanga yoga in the west. A regular practice will create a strong body and calm and centered mind.

Is Ashtanga yoga for everyone?

While factors such as age, experience with yoga, or how strong or flexible one is may determine how quickly one learns the practice, in the long run they are relatively insignificant. Everyone's practice is unique and develops at its own pace. The practice is for anybody who genuinely desires to do it. The only prerequisites are a willingness to apply one's energies, to face honestly and squarely whatever may arise, and to persevere.

What are the Eight Limbs(Ashtanga) of Yoga?

Yama: Five ethical guidelines regarding moral behavior towards others: Ahimsa: Nonviolence Satya: Truthfulness Asteya: Nonstealing Brahmacharya: Nonlust Aparigraha: Noncovetesness 2. Niyama: Five ethical guidlines regarding moral behaviour towards oneself: Saucha: Cleanliness Santosa: Contentment Tapas: Sustained practice Svadhyaya: Self study Isvara pranidhana: Surrender to God 3. Asana: Practice of yoga postures. 4. Pranayama: Practice of breathing exercises. ...

Who can practice Ashtanga Yoga?

People of all ages can begin the practice of Ashtanga Yoga as long as they practice with a qualified instructor, and are in good health when they begin the practice.

Is Ashtanga yoga the same as "Power Yoga"?

Power Yoga is a fairly recent form of yoga that was introduced in the past 10 years by Western practitioners. Some Power Yoga classes are based on the Ashtanga Yoga sequence or contain characteristics of Ashtanga yoga. These classes are in no way related to the Ashtanga yoga classes offered at the Green Room School of Yoga.

What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?

A scientific method of movement and meditative practice using controlled breath and sequenced postures. The changes in the body bring about changes in the mind. See for more information.

What should I wear to an Ashtanga Yoga class?

Wear clothing that is comfortable and that you can move and breathe in easily. Fitted shirts are recommended so that you can bend and move without the shirt coming up. Many students wear leggings, fitted yoga pants, or exercise attire. Thick or bulky clothes, such as sweat pants, are not recommended because the practice will produce sweat that can make thick clothing uncomfortble. Yoga is practiced in bare feet. Shoes may be left on our shoe shelf upon arriving at the yoga center.

How often should I practice Ashtanga Yoga?

Traditionally, it is recommended that Ashtanga Yoga students practice six days a week, Sunday through Friday. (Saturday is a day of rest in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition. Additionally, it is suggested that there be no Ashtanga Yoga practice on new moon and full moon days. ) But many people lead busy lives and fit the practice in when they can. Students in Beginner Series can just do their two days a week and upon completion of the entire beginner's series begin to increase their practice days. ...

How is Ashtanga Yoga different from Hatha Yoga?

Ashtanga Yoga is actually a form of Hatha Yoga. It is a specific sequence of hatha postures practiced without stopping. It takes about one hour and 15 minutes to practice the Primary Series of Ashtanga before deep relaxation. Ashtanga also uses a specific breathing technique and internal muscle contractions to create internal heat to melt the muscles and aid in the practice of the asanas safely. Yoga is like a vehicle. ...

What do I need to bring to an Ashtanga Yoga class?

All Ashtanga Yoga classes require the use of a yoga mat. Ashtanga students are encouraged to bring their own mat but mats are available to rent from Yoga Yoga for $1 per class (no mat rental charge for your first class. ) Because an Ashtanga Yoga practice generates heat in the body, it is necessary also to bring a towel for wiping persperation. Many Ashtanga Yoga students like to use a "Mysore Rug", which is a cotton rug that lays on top of a yoga mat. Mysore rugs help create a steady foundation for the practice. ...

What are the best Ashtanga Yoga products for home practice?

The following videos lead through the Primary Series, as is done in a class: David Swenson, "The Practice", First Series Richard Freeman, "Ashtanga Yoga, The Primary Series" The following books provide useful guidance and instruction related to Ashtanga Yoga: Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga, The Practice Manual by David Swenson Ashtanga Yoga, The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Dynamic Yoga by John Scott Power Yoga and Beyond Power Yoga by Beryl Birch Ashtanga Yoga: 'The Practice' 1st Series Practice Ca... ...

How is Ashtanga Yoga different to other types of yoga?

Ashtanga is a sequence of postures which are linked by flowing movements synchronised with the breathing. By maintaining this flow the practitioner experiences a feeling of wellbeing in the mind and body. Q. Am I too fat/thin/tall/small/old/young/unfit/inflexible A. Ashtanga is an adaptable form of yoga that can be modified to suit every person’s body type.

What should I bring to my Ashtanga Yoga Class?

Please dress comfortably in light clothing. Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic, athletic style of yoga. Your own yoga mat is recommended for hygienic reasons. Mats are available for purchase at The Yoga Shala for $34. You may bring a water bottle for after your class; however we do not recommend you drink water during class.
Please dress comfortably in light clothing. Your own yoga mat is recommended for hygienic reasons. Top quality mats are available for purchase at The Yoga Shala; we also provide rental mats for $2 per session. You may bring a water bottle for after your class; however we do not recommend you drink water during class.

How can I learn the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series?

There are a number of different resources available for learning the sequence used in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series. Obviously the best way is to find a teacher locally who can guide you in learning the sequence safely. If that's not available, you can go to and buy one of several DVDs on the market: David Swenson's " Ashtanga Yoga First Series ," Mark Darby's " Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series " or Sarah Powers' " 1st Series . " You may find others that appeal to you as well. ...

This looks very interesting, but what is Ashtanga yoga?

Ashtanga yoga is commonly referred to as a physical and dynamic form of yoga. However, ashtanga yoga is much more than excercise to stretch and strengthen the body. Through concious breathing, postures and concentration, it is possible to develop good control of the body and the senses, and to obtain a deeper awareness about one's mind. ...

How many times a week should I practice Ashtanga Yoga?

Traditionally, Ashtanga Yoga is a daily discipline with full moon and new moon days taken as rest days. It is also recommended that women do not practice for the first 2-3 days of menstruation. I have found that the students who practice six times a week tend to be the ones who are happiest with their practice, make the most progress, and continue to improve. However, any amount of practice is better than none. ...

What can I expect in an Ashtanga Yoga class?

Each class begins with a Sanskrit invocation. It is done in a call and response manner. It is basically giving thanks for the teachers who have brought us this knowledge. If students are not comfortable saying this invocation they just remain respectfully silent. The class is then led through ten sun salutations and the standing sequence of postures and then to the floor for the seated postures, finishing sequence and deep relaxation. Tea is served after class as students visit and talk with the teacher. ...

Will Ashtanga yoga help me to lose weight?

Yes. If you have excess weight that needs shifting and you practice regularly, not only will the yoga exercises help you lose weight, you will also become more conscious or your eating habits and therefore have the power to change them for the better. Also if you are too thin and need to put on weight, yoga will help that too. It brings everything into balance.

Can I still practice Ashtanga Yoga if I’m pregnant?

If you have practiced lots of yoga before then yes. If, however, you are a beginner then specialized pregnancy yoga is more suitable for you.

What are the differences between the Hatha, Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga classes?

All these types of yoga use the same poses just in different ways and to different degrees. Gentle Hatha is a soothing, relaxing class that provides movement in a gentle and loving way. Hatha is a litle more energetic and rigourous. It encorporates some of the basic poses from Ashtanga, Viniyoga and Indra Devi yoga but without sun salutations and vinyasas. It is therefore much easier on the wrists and shoulders and requires a lower level of physical endurance than Ashtanga. ...

What is hatha yoga and how is it different than ashtanga yoga?

Hatha Yoga is a system of Yoga described by Yogi Swatmarama, a yogic sage of the 15th century in India, and compiler of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Hatha Yoga is a development of — but also differs substantially from — the Raja Yoga of Patanjali, in that it focuses on shatkarma, the purification of the physical as leading to the purification of the mind (ha) and prana, or vital energy (tha). ...

How is Ashtanga Yoga different from stretching or other kinds of fitness?

Yoga is more than just physical postures; it is unique because we connect the mind, body and breath to help direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognise our thought patterns; increasing awareness. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed; like in a gym environment.

How fast is Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga?

Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a vigorous practice; it is suitable for beginners who are relatively fit with no previous yoga experience. Why are you supposed to refrain from eating two to three hours before class? In class, we will twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have not fully digested your last meal, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not comfortable. ...

How do I book in for the ashtanga yoga classes?

Bookings for class are not required. All you need to do is to pick out a class or classes that suit you and then turn up. For your first class, you should aim to arrive 15 minutes earlier than the set starting time in order to complete your registration form, payment and also to allow you to you settle in prior to your practice. A registration form will need to be completed before you can begin practice to ensure that your teacher is made aware of any medical conditions you may have. ...

What type of yoga is practised in the ashtanga yoga classes?

Ashtanga Yoga is a traditional style of Hatha Yoga.
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