What is Ashtanga Yoga: Learn the Basics

What is Ashtanga Yoga: Learn the Basics

Ashtanga Yoga is a traditional form of hatha yoga originating from South India. The main characteristic of Ashtanga yoga is the synchronisation of breath and movement. This warms the body, making the joints and muscles more supple, helps with the removal of toxins and purification of the body, mind and nervous system. Regular practitioners develop strength, flexibility, stamina and an overall sense of wellbeing.

It is suitable for all ages, body types and fitness levels. All that is needed is an open mind and enthusiasm to learn. The greatest benefits come with regular practice.

The traditional way to practice Ashtanga yoga is in a “Mysore” class.

When I first heard the word Mysore – I thought it had something to do with “My sore… hamstrings!”. I later found out it is the name of the city from where the practice originates. Now in Ashtanga yoga schools around the world, “Mysore-style” refers to a class that aims to stay true to the method of teaching found at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India (www.kpjayi.org)

Contrary to what many people think, a Mysore class is perfect for beginners. This is because you will receive individual attention from the teacher and progress at your own pace.

Here are some tips for what to expect at a Mysore class:

  • The room will be mainly silent except for the sound of breathing
  • Students of all levels practise alongside each other, from complete beginners to more advanced
  • Right from the beginning, the teacher works with each student individually, that way students can progress at a pace that is suitable to their own level of strength, flexibility and stamina. It makes it an ideal setting for those new to yoga or with specific injuries or medical conditions
  • Students learn and memorise, step-by-step, a set series of postures that are practised daily, New postures are added slowly when the student is ready
  • The teacher will assist the students through either verbal instruction or hands on adjustments as necessary
  • Students can come at any time during the 6:30-9:30am time slot, depending on how long they need for their own practice. Initially practice will take around 30 minutes and over time will be steadily extended to 90 minutes in duration

We recommend new students make a commitment to attending three classes a week for one month to give the best chance to experience the many benefits the practice can bring.

Most importantly – you do not need to know the sequence to attend a Mysore class. This is why you attend the class – to learn and practise!

Ashtanga Yoga Dubai runs Mysore classes Sunday to Thursday mornings at the Habtoor Grand JBR and Sunday to Thursday mornings and evenings at The Westin, Al Habtoor City.

Nea Ferrier is the founder and principal teacher of Ashtanga Yoga Dubai. She has been practising Ashtanga Yoga for 12 years and teaching throughout the world for the last nine years. Nea is currently teaching traditional Mysore-style classes daily in Dubai, being the only KPJAYI Level II authorised teacher in the UAE

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