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Welcome to our Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga.
What is Ashtanga Yoga?
Yoga originated in ancient India several thousand years ago, as a system of practices designed to maximise the health and well-being of the individual both physically and mentally. The aim of Yoga was to provide the tools that would enable everyone to live a happy, healthy life. Practices were developed that worked on all of the levels of ones make-up; this comprehensive approach to health and happiness was called the Eight Limbed Path of Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga.
The most commonly practised aspect is the third limb, Asana or Yoga Postures, which strengthen and realign the body and improve balance. There is much more to Ashtanga than just this however. Breathing exercises, called Pranayama (4th limb) have a profound impact on the nervous system. The practices of Pratyahara (Sense withdrawal) and Dharana (Concentration) (5th & 6th limbs) help us to clear and focus the mind, allowing us to develop the capacity for Dhyana, meditation (7th limb) and Samadhihih (8th limb), the state of profound peacefulness and well-being that arises when we clear our systems of all imbalance. You may notice that we have not yet mentioned the 1st and 2nd limbs. These are called Yama and Niyama, which we can translate as ‘conduct conducive to health and happiness’ and ‘lifestyle conducive to health and happiness’. These are vital elements of the system as without them, no amount of postures will have the impact we desire, nor will we have the energy or determination to persevere with practice.
Ashtanga Yoga in Practice
We are all different, each with our own physical, mental and emotional make up, and we all have stresses and imbalances, particular to our situation in life. It is key to develop a beneficial Yoga practice that is appropriate to our specific needs. A proper balance of postures and breathing practices, performed in the right way, allied with meditation and relaxation practices needs to be prescribed, and performed according to one’s capacity. In this way, we achieve the maximum benefit from our practices with the coordinated effect on our body, nervous system and mind. The only requirement is the commitment to do it!
Is Ashtanga Yoga suitable for me?
Ashtanga Yoga can be tailored to meet everyone’s needs. It is not necessary to be super flexible or fit to start. We teach each student at the level suited to them, so there are no limitations in terms of age, fitness or experience. What is needed is a little determination and patience and a willingness to take the time to learn what can be a life changing practice. For more information on the specifics of our Beginner’s Packages, please go to our page Beginners Ashtanga Yoga Packages.
“I have practised Yoga before but not Ashtanga”
No Problem! If you have practised Yoga before but are new to Ashtanga, then you can avail of one of our Beginner’s Packages, Gold, Silver or Bronze and will be fine with any one of them. For more information on the specifics of our Beginner’s Packages, please go to our page Beginners Ashtanga Yoga Courses.
“I have practised Ashtanga Yoga for many years but not with you – how do I start?”
Perfect! Just come along to any class in the schedule and sign up – you can also avail of any of the packages if you so wish. For more information on the specifics of our Beginner’s Packages, please go to our page Beginners Ashtanga Yoga Packages.
“I have never practised yoga and I am very stiff, would your classes be too much for me?”
Absolutely not – please come along. We can modify postures as necessary to make it possible for you to do them ot the best of your ability. Again look at one of the Beginner’s packages on Beginners Ashtanga Yoga Packages.
“I currently have an illness, or specific physical condition – are your classes suitable for me?”
Yes. If your doctor has given you the go ahead to practice yoga, our classes are ideal as we will tailor a practice for you specifically. In this situation, you should take either a Silver or Gold Beginner’s Package, which include a private yoga class (Silver) or both a private class and an Ayurvedic Consultation. Once you have had the Private class, you can attend the regular Mysore style classes where we will continue to work with you individually to ensure that you understand your personalised practise. Again look at the Beginner’s packages information hereBeginners Ashtanga Yoga Packages.