Ashtanga Yoga With Antonella

Ashtanga Yoga is the name of dynamic, challenging, sequence of poses that links movement, breath, and gazing point. This practice was taught for over 70 years by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (or Guruji as he was lovingly called by his students) of Mysore, South India. This amazing man taught out of his home and never turned away any earnest student that sought his guidance and teaching.

There are 6 groups of poses or “series”, beginning with the Primary Series. Each series builds on the one that comes before, requiring the student to develop a level of proficiency, and stability of body and mind before moving forward. This practice is the foundation for many styles of yoga that have become popular in the West, including: Power, Vinyasa, Jivamukti and Rocket. None of these styles, however, can be called “Ashtanga” since the set sequence, movement with breath, and gazing points, makes this practice completely unique.

Ashtanga classes are usually taught in one of two ways:

The traditional style of learning the practice is called
“Mysore style”. In a Mysore class new students are instructed individually, not guided in a group. Although in a class with other students, each person is taught at a pace that is appropriate for them. The most common analogy is to say that the students are getting private instruction in a group setting. At the beginning a person is taught one or two poses each class in order to commit the sequence to memory, when these poses are correct the next pose can be added on. In this style a student gets to take their practice to a completely different level. They may have to opportunity to work with their teacher on things that would rarely be seen in a group class, such as learning to stand up and drop back in backbends, learn handstands, and explore the more challenging postures of the Intermediate and Advanced series of the Ashtanga practice. This approach, however, is also perfect for beginners, because a student can work slowly rather than trying to keep up with a group. A beginner student can expect their first day of practice to last only about 30-45 minutes. When in doubt, however, just come to class; the Mysore practice is different from any other type of class you will ever experience.

The second way of practicing Ashtanga is in a
guided format. This group class is what most students have come to expect from a typical yoga class. The entire room is moving and practicing the same poses at the same time while the teacher guides you through the sequence keeping the focus on moving with the breath. This style of class is fast paced and rigorous.