During my years as Program Director of a chain of Southern California health clubs, I’d seen literally hundreds of so called stretching programs, exercise devices and slick promises to increase range of motion, strength, flexibility and lung capacity. Yet I have never found any of these to come close to being as effective, thorough or well rounded as Ashtanga-Vinyasa Yoga.
First of all, the sequence of postures in the system is extremely well balanced. Successive postures within the system are uniquely complementary developing strength and flexibility both concurrently and alternatively. Second, the concept of uninterrupted flow (Vinyasa) tied to an empowering breath sets the practice apart from every other form of yoga.
The traditional series of Ashtanga Vinyasa is the most physically challenging of all styles of Hatha Yoga. It’s equal emphasis on strength, balance and stamina can prove to be difficult for many students who do not have the time to keep up with a consistent practice schedule or who have physical challenges.
An experienced teacher in Ashtanga can translate the unseen fundamentals of this system into yoga sequencing that is adaptable to any level. By integrating the Breath(Ujayi), Bandhas (locks), Focus (drishti), proper sequencing, order and flow the power of yoga can be experienced by those who may feel that Ashtanga is too challenging.
Many of the classes seen on yoga schedules across the country today, such as Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Flow Yoga and more are hybrids of Ashtanga Yoga. It’s nice to see the different styles that have evolved from Ashtanga, however it is important to know & understand the root source before embarking on your own style. An artist who did not study the masters, may not have the same depth of experience of knowing the history of the Masterpieces before them, just as a teacher who does not thoroughly understand the source of their style may miss the most valuable part of the teaching
Absolutely true Stacy. I’ve been teaching the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga for 19 years now and have seen it grow to what it is. You are truly representing it in a progressive fashion which I love. Ill be keeping an eye for more of your wonderful post. All the best, Dennis Dean – Ashtanga Yoga Mandiram-Cardiff, California
An artist who did not study the masters, may not have the same depth of experience of knowing the history of the Masterpieces before them, just as a teacher who does not thoroughly understand the source of their style may miss the most valuable part of the teaching.
I love this last part of your article. It’s nice to slow down and realize if we’ll take the time to learn all we can, we’ll achieve even more than we otherwise would. I’m big on learning, so I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to glean from your teachings!
Michele ~ You are my blogging inspiration & have me fired up about writing more!
Wow, Stacy, thanks! I’m honored to be your blogging inspiration. Awesome!!! 🙂
You my dear just keep getting better!!!! Love the Dog-Ini Yoga with you two beautiful hounds!!! I completley agree —-the Ashtanga-Vinyasa Yoga
is the best stretching system bar none. Thankfully the Yoga community has you to interpret it!!
Great post Stacy. The fundamentals of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is so powerful and so important, and I’m pleased to see you articulate this point so nicely. The “artist studying the great masters” analogy is spot-on.
(I’m just started teaching at Four Seasons Yoga…so stoked!)
Awesome Steve. Jenny & the crew at Four Season’s is definitely a place you want to teach. Hope I can get to a class with you sometime!
You have a gift of writing the complex into engaging, clear, and understandable concepts. I will be passing this on to my clients/patients to help them to become more aware and further centered in their mind and body. Thank you for articulating the delights and nuances of Ashtanga yoga. Namaste,
Registered Dietitian, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics
(Just moved my nutrition consulting office to the Scripps building in Carmel Valley and am also stoked)
Thank you for commenting & passing it along to your clients.