Yoga practice involves discipline – a sustained effort to still and relieve tensions of the mind and body. Via the awareness that meditation brings and by touching your toes, bending your spine and so forth, one starts to unwind the years that have wrapped or bound us to things that no longer matter. Somehow in the stillness of making these physical shapes and the quiet of listening only to your breath and how you feel, things start to look a little different. The process is meditation. The result is discipline and grace and a deeper knowing of oneself.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a structured practice performed as a set series of postures. Its power is in its meditative flow of Vinyasa;closely linking the breath with movement. It can be a strong workout, deeply detoxifying and reviving to the body on all levels. The practice becomes meditative as the breath (Ujaii’breath), the eye gaze (Dristhi) and the movements all become focused. Steeped in tradition, Ashtanga yoga comes unwavering from Mysore India via the late yoga master Sri K Patabois Jois (Ashtanga Yoga India).
As with all yoga practice Ashtanga’s benefits and transformational effects are felt when there is a daily, or almost daily practice. And given it’s physically challenging format the more often you can practice the easier you’ll find things!
The practice can these days be taken in a group led class where all practice in unison. Beginners may come to this class though should be aware that at first one does not necessarily perform all of the poses in the primary series and a led class can seem daunting. The more traditional way of proceeding with Ashtanga is the self-practice method of Mysore style.In this method the nuances of your practice are revealed as you work (supported by your teacher) on your own. The process is steady and you only practice what you are safely able to do. It is a great system and the ability to work on ones own gives a sense of ownership and commitment to a personal practice. People who commit to coming to the Mysore class style learn the order of poses quicker than those who keep up with talked-thru/led classes!
The class is ‘open’ for 2 hours. Come and start your practice within the first 40 minutes of start time. Beginners and the start of the class. Generally you practice for around 90 minutes, more or less depending on what you’re instructed, your energy level and the sequence you’ve been given. Beginners and advanced practitioners alike work alongside one another. Beginners will start with just a 40-50 minute practice.
Ashtanga can be taken by anyone with an inclination for its disciplined nature and the desire to work.
Ashtanga Beginners Courses
You are welcome to come to mostAshtanga yoga class as a complete beginner. However we suggest you also consider doing an Ashtanga Beginners Course if you are interested in pursuing Ashtanga.
The 2 day short course offers a supportive beginners environment to show the fundamental aspects of practicing this amazing method of yoga: breath, focus, strength and continuous movement. Poses are workshopped and repeated and thequiet and disciplined environment of the self-practice Mysore-style class room is also workshopped. There is time for questions and answersregarding the practice and yoga in general.
Ashtanga Beginners Courses generally run on the first weekend of each month over a Saturday and Sunday, please visit this postfor more details.
Also consider the weekly Beginners class on a Tuesday 7:15 – 8:30pm. The class sheds light on the practice and preps you for the Mysore classes.
Please arrive 5 minutes early for group or led class. Turn your phone off or on silent. If you arrive just as the opening chant is being called refrain from entering the space till just finished.
Consider your personal hygiene, arrive for class fresh and in clean practice clothes. Yoga is often performed in close proximity to one another, please limit the use of strong deodorants, especially perfumes.
Keep conversation to a minimum and enjoy the serene space yourself.
We recommend you have your own mat. Mat’s can be purchased at The Yoga Academy in Auckland.Also try Eco Yoga Store. You are welcome to use the studio mats and blankets. Members may keep their mats (in a mat bag) at the studio.
We encourage you to wear anything you feel comfortable to move in, be it cotton, lycra, wool, shorts, longs orshorts, as long as what you wear is fresh and clean and won’t disrupt or hinder your movement. Be free.
Eating and drinking
Try not to do much of either before a class, though you should feel hydrated. Drink plenty of water after class to aid in the flushing of toxins and to rehydrate from sweating. Please refrain from drinking from a water bottle during your practice, this is cooling and distracting for you, stay with your focus instead. It is advised to have not eaten anything substantial at least 2 – 3 hours before class. Consider a light meal, no later than 7:30pm for a following 6am Ashtanga practice.
During the ‘moon days’ of a full and new moon one should refrain from a strong yoga practice. Please have a look here on this Moon site to find out where the moon is in it’s cycle.
The quaintly named break that a woman may observe during her period. By giving yourself a break from strong physical work-out for a day or two you are observing and honouring mother-nature and your need for the occasional rest. You can cease your Ashtanga practice for a whole 5 – 7 days however some women find the first 2 – 3 days as a break are enough. Others find the day just before and the first day the most sensitive. Whatever you decide, rest a little at the time of your period freely and without guilt. Men – feel free to observe your own periodic rest from your daily practice too! Honour your need for a rest. For women who do practice at some stage of their period it is advised not to practice inverted (or upside down poses) asana at this time.
Please advise your teacher if you are pregnant. Ashtanga yoga should not be commenced as a beginner if you are pregnant. If you have a regular Ashtanga practice and you become pregnant, you should be fine to continue – however please let your teacher know. There are many helpful poses and techniques to help you in your pregnancy. We welcome your enquires.
If your health changes in any way or you are suffering the negative effects of any ailment please advise your teacher in complete confidence.