WHAT IT IS
Ashtanga is system of yoga made up of six practice Series: Primary, Intermediate and four Advanced Series. Introduced in the U.S. by Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga Yoga is a vigorous, heat-generating asana-centric practice designed to productively and effectively open the tissues of the body, and both focus and expand the mind. It can also be practiced as Mysore Yoga, which is more of a self-driven practice in which your teacher will assist with cues and adjustments, but you breathe and move through asanas at your own pace.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Classes typically begin and end with chanting of traditional mantras, to heighten your awareness and help set your intention and attention for your practice. Ashtanga builds an intense internal heat, achieved through a specific synchronization and pattern of breath with a progressive posture series that takes you through a warm-up and fundamental standing asana series, before moving into your Series. The Primary Series (Yoga Chikitsa), for example, consists of 56 designated asanas. At all levels, combination of breathing and asana together generates heat as a potent physical detoxifier and mental clarifier, enhancing flexibility, circulation and cardiovascular health. Some Ashtanga Yoga classes will be led by an instructor, while in Mysore classes, your instructor will be available to give you whatever support you need as you move through your Ashtanga practice.
Ashtanga often calls to yogis who want to develop their strength and balance, stamina and stability through rigor and routine in their practice. As a yoga practice is a fluid, ever-moving path, Ashtanga also offers a consistency and a progressive journey through its six designated series, which may help reveal growth through dedication and commitment to practice.
“Practice and all is coming.” -- Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois