About Ashtanga

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WHY

Ashtanga yoga was developed for householders who had family commitments, making it impossible to travel to a Shala for yoga practice. The fixed sequences allow them to develop a self-practice at home. Which is why, traditionally, it is practised before start of day or duties.

Below are some of the benefits for practising Ashtanga yoga:

  • Practise at your own pace and monitor your own progression that helps to develop an independent and empowered practitioner.
  • Given its fixed sequence, Ashtanga yoga can be practised either at home or in a shala.
  • Suitable for all levels ( beginners, intermediate and advance).
  • Easily accessible to everyone and globally.
  • One-to-one attention by the teacher even though class is held in a group setting.
  • Ashtanga Yoga is a balanced practice that contains: Sun Salutations, Standing, Sitting, Backbends and Inversion poses.
  • Improves flexibility & strength, focus and creativity. Reduces body fat, stress and anxiety.

Question: I have never practised yoga before, is Ashtanga Yoga suitable for me?

Answer: Yes, absolutely! Despite this class is in a group setting, you will receive one-to-one attention from the teacher.

Question: I see the classes are in a block of 3hours, is the practice that long?

Answer: No, the class isn’t 3 hours long. If it is your first time, come at the schedule timings of either 6:30am or 7:30am and set aside at least 1hour for the practice.

Question: Must I memorise the sequence? What do I do if I forget the next pose?

Answer: We understand at the start it will be difficult to remember the poses. The teacher will guide you through and eventually you will remember the sequence one day!

Question: Am I allowed to practise during my moon cycle?

Answer: Strictly no practice is allowed during the first three days.

HOW

Choose one of the following as your first step to Ashtanga Yoga!

Attend either 6:30am or 7:30am for your first class for Monday to Friday OR 7:30am for Saturday.

First class will be an hour long.

This is not an asana class.

The session is free and held on selected Thursdays 8:15 – 9:15pm for individuals who has never done Ashtanga before. You will learn about this method of yoga practice and why we do what we do and the difference between Mysore and Led classes, etc. Registration is free.

Next session: TBA

ASHTANGA YOGA PASS (Valid for 1 month)
SGD 290

Terms & Conditions

All packages are non-refundable and non-transferable i.e. for individual usage only

• Package is activated from date of purchase

• Ashtanga Yoga package are valid for ONE month.

• No sharing of transfer is allowed.

• Any promotional packages are not eligible for pass extensions beyond their expiry dates

• For every third late cancellation,one day will be docked off their monthly subscription.

WHAT

There are no Ashtanga classes on New and Full Moondays. Why? Read here to learn more.

Ashtanga Yoga is a fixed sets of sequence which involves synchronisation of the breath with a progressive series of postures (asanas). Throughout the practice, expect to build up heat within the body that detoxifies muscles and organs.

History:

Ashtanga yoga is an ancient form of yoga taught by Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta. The Mysore style and method was passed down through the ages to Pattabhi Jois during his studies with Sri T. Krishnamacharya. The main components of Ashtanga yoga, as emphasised by Pattabhi Jois are; Vinyasa, Tristhana and the Six Poisons.

Vinyasa: Refers to the coordination of breath and movement. The purpose of vinyasa is to create heat within the body for internal cleansing of impurities and disease.

Tristhana: The three points of attention and/or action – posture (asana), breathing (puraka and rechaka) and gazing point (dristhi).

  • Asanas strengthen the physical body.
  • Breathing purifies the nervous system.
  • Dristhi promotes focus.

The Six Poisons:

 There are six poisons that surround the human heart; desire, anger, delusion, greed, envy and sloth. When practiced diligently, the heat from Ashtanga yoga will burn away these poisons

In the Mysore Style of teaching, students are taught the Ashtanga Yoga sequence step by step at their own pace. Students are expected to remember and practice what they have learned from class to class. Class duration is from 45 min – 120 min depending on the level of the student and you can start at anytime during scheduled class. Mysore-style practice is the original method of teaching within the Ashtanga yoga tradition of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. In a nutshell, it is simply one-on-one instruction within a class setting.

Primary Series

The Ashtanga Primary Series is called Yoga Chikitsa, meaning yoga therapy, because of the cleansing and toning effect it has on both body and mind.  On a physical level the asanas (poses) of the Primary Series build strength and flexibility in the body, loosening tight muscles and realigning and detoxifying the body and nervous system. The series begins with forward bends, then twists and hip openers with a vinyasa between each asana.

On a mental level, through regular practice focus, willpower, mind-body awareness and confidence are improved as we overcome the mental obstacles to our practice. On a subtle level the Primary series works therapeutically to clear obstacles in the energy channels in the body (known as Nadis).

This clearing of obstacles allows the Prana to flow more freely so the body and mind are therefore allowed to work more effectively.

Intermediate Series

The Ashtanga Intermediate Series is known as Nadi Shodana – meaning Nerve Cleansing. This is because of the focus on backbend asanas. The backbends encourage and maintain the suppleness of the spine and as well as working on opening the energy channels allowing Prana to flow freely.

While some of the earlier asanas in the sequence may be familiar to many (Locust Pose for example) the sequence moves onto more intense backbends, hip opening poses and headstand variations.

The poses have their own health benefits and challenges but the specific combination of the poses works strongly on the nervous system, so it can have a very different effect on the body than the Primary series or other dynamic yoga classes. It’s therefore really important to end your practice with a long Savasana and as you start out practising the Intermediate series begin on a day when you don’t have too much going on.

Advance Series

The four advanced series Sthira Bhaga (divine grace) continue to detoxify and refine the body while also developing greater mental focus and humility.

Taken from “Ashtanga Yoga The Primary and Intermediate Series | Ekhart Yoga.” Ekhart Yoga Online

FUTHER READING

When I was first offered the opportunity to come for the Ashtanga Mysore class at Art of Yoga, I had some serious doubts and reservations. Firstly, like most beginners, I questioned my own flexibility and stamina to even partake in such a class. Furthermore, I assumed that the session was from 6.30-9.30 am – a solid THREE hours. And finally, the thought of waking up before sunrise completely deterred me from even trying.

However, I realised that things were not as daunting as they seemed. The Mysore class is NOT three hours long as I had assumed. Instead it is such that one could come down anytime within the 3-hour timeslot and practice the postures at his/her own pace. Of course, first timers are expected to make it there at the time they have booked for, at least for the first class. I also made an effort to wake up earlier than I would usually (around 9am!!) and headed down to the studio in time for the 7.30 am timeslot. Although I felt groggy and sluggish, I am rpoud to say that I managed to pull myself together and try something new.. Truly, the hardest part of an early morning is to simply leave your bed. And it’s actually really pleasant to get to Art of Yoga that early in the morning. It’s tucked away in a peaceful and serene part of the Upper East Coast area.

When I entered the studio, I was surprised that there were already 5-6 other people in the midst of their practice. They were engaged in seemingly complex postures and I immediately felt that I had signed up for something that was beyond my abilities. However, I needn’t have worried. Mysore-style is is such that all students practice at their own pace and are given individualized attention and instruction according to their needs.

As I rolled out my mat and waited for the instructor, Nadira, I felt slightly anxious but also excited about how the session would evolve. After guiding the other students, Nadira finally sat me down and started off by giving me an introduction to the whole Ashtanga practice. She patiently went through the origins, rationale and the method of practice. Then, we went through some breathing exercises and I was taught step-by-step, Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations). Every step of the sequence was done slowly and meaningfully. She reminded me that the focus was on the breathing, which essentially made the crucial difference between yoga and other forms of stretching.

After a 45-minute session of learning and practicing the sun salutations, I was surrounded by a pool of perspiration. Never did I ever imagine that practising yoga would leave me completely drenched in sweat! Nadira then informed me that I was done for the day and I could do my final breathing and stretching exercises. After taking a breather, I actually felt that I could have done more, but she reiterated that the Ashtanga sequence is to be delivered in stages, so as to build a stronger foundation.

Oh boy, am I so glad that I stopped there! The next morning, I woke up completely sore and every muscle in my body was aching; but it was the good kind of ache, the one where you feel you are getting stronger and actually working towards your potential. Overall, the Ashtanga Mysore class was completely fulfilling and definitely not as impossible as I thought it would be. It was certainly challenging but definitely NOT impossible. Actually, it was really good fun! If you’ve been hesitating about trying a class, don’t! If I can do it, so can you!

-Abirami Ramesh AOY Intern 2018

I started my ashtanga journey a year ago out of curiosity and that first Mysore class with Nadira changed my life! Little did I know that I would be hooked on to it. Nothing has pushed me, challenged me and rewarded me as much as my ashtanga practice.

Although it is a challenging style of yoga, I believe it is for everyone because the best thing about a Mysore style practice is that you get one on one instruction and each pose is given to you at your own pace.

It is also the most sustainable because you can do it anywhere on your own. This has made it possible for me to practice even when I am travelling or when I can’t make it to the studio.

Although the sequence is fixed, the practice itself is dynamic and leaves me extremely sweaty, satisfied and it gives me a mental clarity that I haven’t found anywhere else.

Every time on the mat is a different feeling and I have never felt bored.

It has become a part of my life now, my moving meditation and I am truly lucky and grateful to have discovered this practice and to my teachers for their invaluable guidance.

-Deeptha Sundaram started Ashtanga Yoga at AoY since March 2018

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I first encountered Ashtanga Yoga Vinyasa many years ago in a gym while looking for fitness classes. I liked the practice then because of its physical intensity, the feeling of working every muscle of your body and I also liked the repetition of the vinyasa movements, thinking it was like a dance. I was really interested in memorizing the sequence and getting my workout through ‘dancing’ on the mat. I used to practice only in the evening, after work or on the weekends. Never more than 2-3 times a week.

Since that first encounter many years have passed, I have had years of sporadic practice, years of regular 3 days a week evening practice and years of no practice at all. Every now and then I would look for a Yoga studio that offers Ashtanga yoga classes. This is another great aspect of the practice: that you can take it with you wherever you go, and it is the same wherever you practice.

I do think there’s a difference between practicing in morning vs the evening, but I guess the real difference happens when you finally start a regular daily practice. It all starts with the acceptance that daily practice is possible no matter how tight your schedule is and if you are juggling between work and children or more. It doesn’t need to be your usual full practice every day. In fact, you can do as little or as short of a practice as you can afford. Doing Sun salutations every day for example would be just nice. Discovering a daily practice for me has been a pivoting point in the all journey.

When you practise every day you fully experience and appreciate the therapeutic effect of Yoga Chikitsa (Primary Series), when you practise with rigor and commitment, and you are not looking at how far you are in the sequence but rather how proper you are ‘dancing’ through it, then I think you will experience a little bit of what Yoga is all about. You are going to learn how to be present and grounded from within during the moments. The practice is no longer a physical practice but a moving meditation. With the bonus of also reducing body fat, giving you ABS and toning your shoulder and arms! However, more important than the physical benefits, it is the improved mental wellbeing. You truly become a better person, in your relationships, in your work, in every aspect if your life that requires your attention.

Every now and then, turning into pretzels for your Instagram friends is fun, but the best is understanding the importance of slowing down, focusing on what you do and not how much you do, trying your best at every inhale and every exhale( breathing)! I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I do.

-Chiara Bergamini in Kapotasana

 

 

 

 

TEACHERS

Nadira Mohsin is a KPJAYI authorized level 1 Asthanga Yoga Teacher and Co-Founder/Director at Singapore’s Art of Yoga (AoY).

She previously worked as an account manager at GlobalCollect (Ingenico) for 2 years where she was involved with payment gateway services and training of online merchants. Prior to GlobalCollect, she spent 5 years at Euromonitor International where she serviced and trained both academic and corporate clients.

Today, she is responsible for managing all aspects of Art of Yoga’s day-to-day operations and leads our dedicated team of yoga teachers while also running her own full Ashtanga Mysore program 7 days a week.

Read about how Nadira from a regular practitioner of Ashtanga to becoming an authorised KPJAYI teacher here!

Nadira and R. Sharath Jois, Mysore 2018

 

GALLERY

RESOURCES

Websites

Lineage teacher of Ashtanga Yoga –  https://www.sharathjois.com/ . Check out his Instagram account too

International news and workshops of the Ashtanga world – http://www.ashtanga.com/

Ashtangayoga – https://www.ashtangayoga.info

Jois Yoga – http://joisyoga.com/

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