Quick flow, timed breaths and intense headstands, looking for a challenge? Look no further. Ashtanga Yoga will challenge every bit of you from start to finish, and reward you tenfold.
If you like a challenge and are driven by self-motivation Ashtanga Yoga is the practice for you. Practice is conducted in Mysore style and is highly structured with all poses predetermined and the teacher there to align and assist you. This practice is not for the faint-hearted, however, there are beginner classes and it is suggested you have some knowledge of yoga before attempting to take an Ashtanga class. The moves are swift and flow from one to another quickly all with sequenced breathing. Be prepared to break a sweat before finishing sun salutations as this practice can be quite rigorous. Practitioners praise Ashtanga Yoga is the gained benefits for both the mind anybody.
Ashtanga Yoga was developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in 1948. Its meaning is that of “8 limbed yoga” which includes all eight limbs Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. These compose the limbs of the yogic philosophy.
Ashtanga yoga sometimes referred to as Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is broken into three sections primary series, intermediate, and advanced series.
The primary series of Ashtanga is often called yoga therapy because of its strengthening and cleansing of both the body and mind. One can practice for years and never perfect this series which is alright since the purpose is to bring focus which can be achieved through any series. This series focuses on building strength and increasing flexibility. In this section, you will be introduced to a wide variety of asanas that increase endurance, focus your breathing and bring control over the body and mind alike.
The intermediate series is focused on the cleansing of the nerves, with many asanas centered around back bends bringing a more limb spine allowing for open energy and prana to flow. While the beginning of the series is filled with common vinyasa poses, it quickly will challenge even advanced yogis with strong backbends, hip opening poses, and headstands galore.
Requiring a high degree of endurance, strength, and flexibility the asanas may be seen as something only gymnasts or contortionists could perform. Though with a dedicated, consistent practice the advanced series can be reached.
Though a practice of yoga Ashtanga is so much more than exercise, it is a way of aligning the body’s chakras, allowing purification of the mind and body as well as gaining focus. The goal is to maintain internal focus and this is why Ashtanga should be practiced at a minimum of 5 days a week, though better if 6-7 days a week. Those who practice ashtanga praise it for the mental clarity and focus it brings. Though not typically suggested for those who have never practiced, all are welcome to beginner classes, which are usually taught in Mysore style allowing you to move at your own pace. This form of practice is very personal and the teachers are there to guide and adjust you as opposed to instructing as they would in a traditional Vinyasa class. Before deciding to take an Ashtanga class you should be fully aware of your physical abilities as this style requires a great amount of coordination, control, and arm and core strength. Though Ashtanga offers many physical benefits, more than anything Ashtangis praise it is their gained centeredness and ability to be in tune with your body’s rhythms.
If you are looking to take the next step and advance your knowledge of Ashtanga and share it with your peers and students then a teacher training is for you. You will have the option of taking a 100, 200, 300 or 500-hour course in a destination that suits you, as there are studios offering Yoga Alliance Certifications all around the world. Before deciding to book a teacher training you should know what you are committing to as the coursework is rigorous and you will generally be expected to be 100% present whether sick or tired. You will be exposed to many different subjects such as the primary series, alignment, adjustment, breathing techniques, meditation and yogic philosophy.
Do you need a break from daily life, and the stresses of work? Or are you looking to center yourself and purify your body and mind? We have you covered with a selection of Ashtanga Yoga retreats around the world, from the mountains to the tropics there is a retreat for you.
No matter what type of vacation suits you, your next yoga retreat can fit every one of your needs. For anyone seeking luxury, Indonesia is the ideal yoga destination. When on a yoga retreat in Indonesia you can have accommodations on a private island with a small group of other like-minded yogis. Daily practice and meditation will be included as well as 4-5 star accommodations and meals that accompany any diet. If you want to escape the quietness there will are private speedboat transfers at your convenience that will allow you to travel from island to island in the warm clear waters, and mingle with locals on the many other islands.
If you love the sea and want to spend your yoga holiday on it, take a sailing yoga vacation in the greek or Croatian islands. Though not as exotic as Indonesia, it will still be peaceful and exciting all the same. This is a great way to unplug from daily life and reconnect with yourself while exploring pristine Islands, untouched villages and delving into your yoga practice with relentless vigor.
Though you will find an abundance of yoga retreats in Ashtangas birthplace Mysore, India or the Holy city of Rishikesh, India, get off the beaten path with a yoga retreat in Nepal. By staying in Kathmandu’s authentically Tibetan district you can feel the spiritual energy in the air. You will enjoy luxury accommodations and family style meals with your fellow yogis and when not practicing asanas or meditating, there are lively markets and many monasteries beckoning to be explored. Be sure to make a trek into the Himalayas before leaving and walk the same path as the many adventurers before you.