Why Practice Ashtanga Yoga
It’s the turn of the new year, and new decade, and I hope you take a moment out of your goal setting for a little reflection. I first started exploring yoga over 10 years ago and until this past year, I will admit that my practice was usually sporadic at best, leveraging birthday and anniversary passes, Groupons, and discounted yoga packages that I’ve been able to stretch out longer than I should have.
Whether you’re into yoga purely for the physical benefits or you want to go deeper – like anything – it is hard to achieve the results you’re looking for so long as it’s a once-in-awhile activity. It’s going to come when you establish a regular practice.
Enter, Ashtanga yoga. I will be offering a short form Ashtanga practice weekly at Pushna starting in January. Want to come check it out? Here are three big reasons I encourage you to do so in the new year:
- Get a sneak peek into yoga philosophy to deepen your practice and learn the skills to take it off the mat. Ashtanga actually means “eight limbs” when you break down the sanskrit name. Ashta = eight and anga = limbs. The asanas, or postures as part of the physical practice, are just one of those limbs. A short form ashtanga class is centered around the asanas, breath, and inner focus that are fundamental to deepening your understanding of yogic philosophy or lifestyle. I realized 10 years later that it was these little nuggets of wisdom shared by my yoga teachers during intense postures or settling into a resting pose were what kept me coming back. Well, that and the temple massage during savasana.
- It’s the same every single week. A short form Ashtanga class at your local studio will be the same sequence of poses each week – based on the Ashtanga Primary Series. Even if you bounce around to different studios, the sequencing won’t change much. You will warm up with sun salutations before going into a set of standing postures, then finish out with a selection of seated postures. The more you go, the more second nature it becomes. You become confident in your ability. You’ll feel your progress over the weeks, months, and years. You’ll notice different cues that will help you settle into the postures. Your movement transitioning from one posture to the next becomes a dance. You’ll think less about “doing it right” and you’re free to curiously explore the subtleties of what’s happening in your body and mind. This is the state where the magic happens. In my experience, you can learn how to get to this state in an Ashtanga class and then take that skill with you to other styles of yoga classes (and eventually, into your everyday).
- It’s the same every single week. Didn’t she just say that? Yes, I’m trying to prove a point. While nothing quite compares to the energy and vibes you can get at a yoga studio, we can’t always get there. Having a short form ashtanga practice in your back pocket makes your home (or on-the-go) practice more accessible. If you know your short form series, you don’t need to take a teacher training course or load up an app on your phone (and all of its distractions) to know that you’re practicing a safe and beneficial sequence.
Short form Ashtanga starts at Pushna Wellness on Monday, January 6 at 7 a.m. Register on MindBody today!
About the Author
Hi! I’m Colleen (aka CJ) Campbell and I have been practicing yoga for more than 10 years. I completed my RYT 200 yoga instructor training at White Lotus Healing & Yoga and am currently leading three weekly classes at Pushna Wellness including Ashtanga, Rise and Flow, and Vin-Yin. Check out the schedule and book a class today.