I was lucky enough this weekend to attend a day of Ashtanga Teacher Training.
Many people have never heard of this type of yoga. Hatha, one type of Yoga is a beginners sequence. Not an easy sequence but anyone can do the postures without risk of injury.
Ashtanga, is from a different lineage, were we get classes like Power and the sun salutation sequence often found in Vinyasa classes. It’s very traditional and not for the faint of heart. This is an advanced class and either for the natually gifted or for the advanced student looking to push to the next level. I’ve been practicing just a year now and I can’t make it through the first section yet.
While Hatha is about balancing the body, Ashtanga is centered on breath. Number of breaths, movement with the breaths. It’s definitely my favorite thing about it.
It does get into very difficult postures. Here’s a few examples:
It’s amazing to watch. Today, we video taped a “Mysore” class. Ashtanga is very different in its structure. In this system, it is almost an independent practice. You have a teacher that assists you of course, but the basis is to move through the postures with your breath and when you get to the place you are at, you stop and are done for that day.
Two things: I applologize for the basic explanation- I did only take a day of training. I have done a little on my own and a couple attempts in training, but was extemely happy and proud to get through the first 1/4 or so and finishing the standing sequence.
Second thing, I am the worst! But I don’t care at all. I was the beginner of the group. I’m amazed at the practice of just four days of training! This group of people are amazing. Watching a class is one crazy pose after another. Binds, handstands, it’s got it all. But when you go at your own pace, it’s less about a class and all focused on yourself. I’m proud to be in the video so people can see a beginner along side incredible yogi’s.
The other difference is the temperature. It’s slightly cooler, about 85 degrees and no humidity machine. You sweat but it’s a different sweat. Not the pouring hot yoga sweat, more somewhere between that and a gym sweat.
If you give it a try, be careful! This is advanced yoga, instructor lead classes are encouraged, especially at the start. But if you do dive in, you won’t be sorry. It is beautiful and personal. It is the next level, you will be sore, you will be humbled, but you will gain strength and flexibility and a deeper connection with yourself and your practice.