What is Ashtanga Yoga?
The Ashtanga Yoga system is a living lineage that dates back nearly five thousand years in an unbroken line of teachers, sages and gurus that has reached millions of practitioners through the inspirational life of Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois. It is now continued and honored by his son Manju Pattabhi Jois, his daughter Saraswati, his grandson R. Sharath Jois and every Ashtanga teacher and practitioner today. Jois, or Guruji as he was affectionately called by his students, continued the lineage of these teachings in Mysore, India and all around the world and it is through his lifelong dedication that we have the gift of Ashtanga yoga today. Y2 Yoga teaches yoga in the Jois lineage and we are humbled and happy to connect you with this ancient wisdom towards health and strength and peace.
What’s the practice like?
Ashtanga Yoga’s Vinyasa (power yoga came from Ashtanga!) system is set sequences of postures that vary in difficulty and benefit. The flow between each posture is an integral part of the practice. There are three groups of movement sequences: The Primary Series which cleanses and tunes the physical body, The Intermediate Series which purifies the nervous system and the Advanced Series’ which cultivates strength and grace. Each series of postures must be accomplished before proceeding to the next. The sequential process of learning Ashtanga allows the practitioner to develop the concentration, strength, flexibility and stamina needed to progress in a safe, balanced and optimal manner. Postures are linked together through flowing movement (vinyasa). Vinyasa means breath synchronized with movement. In Ashtanga Yoga the movement is always synchronized with the breath. The result is an open heart and a clear mind in a light and strong body.
What will Ashtanga Yoga teach me about breath?
Breathing cannot be overemphasized in the Ashtanga system. When we are born we breathe in and when we die we breathe out – in between these two breathes our life spans. Guruji says: ‘Ashtanga practice is a breathing practice … the rest is just bending’. The breath is the key to the the realm of tranquility and power and with it we can regulate and control our nervous system. The breath is the door between our body and our mind, the portal between meditation and asana practice and often the first step on the way to a more spiritual, soulful and happy lifestyle. Breathing is our most fundamental and vital act and holds a divine essence.
What are Mysore classes?
The ‘Mysore Style’ method is named after the city where Pattabhi Jois established his school for Ashtanga, Mysore, India.
In a Mysore style class, the teacher teaches each student the practice individually pose by pose. Unlike in a modern group class, where students quickly cycle through a series of poses without really knowing if they are doing them right, your teacher makes sure you understand each pose before adding another. You continue until you have a full sequence that will challenge your body in a completely new and exciting way.
All levels welcome. No prior experience necessary.
These classes are taught only by highly trained teachers who are dedicating a good portion of their lives to the study and practice of the ancient tradition of Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois in India.
What are Led classes?
Guided/Led Full Primary (Mysore Experience Suggested)
Guided Full Primary is a high energy Vinyasa class that will challenge your stamina and teach you the art of flowing Ashtanga style. Some Mysore style experience is recommended.
Ashtanga 101 (All Levels)
Ashtanga 101 is half of the Ashtanga Primary Sequence and is a bridge between the one on one instruction of Mysore style and the brisk, sweat inducing power of the Ashtanga Guided class. It is appropriate for all levels and requires no previous knowledge of Ashtanga.
How do I get started with Ashtanga? What if I’m intimidated?
While Ashtanga is different than the power yoga we practice at Y2, remember that without Ashtanga yoga there would be no Y2. The roots of our yoga trace strongly back to Ashtanga and we believe so strongly in it that we offer this Ashtanga Program at Y2 to honor tradition and require all of our teacher trainees to practice Ashtanga during their training. The best way to get started is to show up. Our teachers will work one-on-one with you to teach you the Ashtanga system as they were once taught. You’ll be surrounded by other dedicated and friendly practitioners in a supportive and welcoming environment. If you are feeling a pull to take your practice deeper, to challenge yourself in new ways or to simply try something new, Ashtanga yoga is for you. Ashtanga yoga is for everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I eat before I come?
An empty stomach is more comfortable. Hydrate before you come to class as water is not allowed in the practice room. Water brings down your internal heat and the heat is needed to safely open the muscles and joints.
How often should I practice?
Ashtanga is traditionally practiced 6 days a week. We also have special holidays, called moon days, that occur a few times a month. For consistent progression, it is recommended that you practice Ashtanga a minimum of 3 days per week.
Can I lose weight or tone up with Ashtanga?
Ashtanga, along with positive lifestyle changes and a good diet, can help with weight management.
I have an injury/ailment. Should I practice Ashtanga?
Though we are not doctors, many people find Ashtanga to be effective in healing and pain management. If you have an injury or ailment, please talk to your teacher before practice.
Will I feel sore or fatigued? Should I practice when sore?
Soreness is the body’s reaction to unaccustomed physical movements. As your body gets used to the practice, the soreness will go away. In order for your body to get used to the practice, and the soreness to go away, you should practice when you are sore.
How long will my first Mysore session be?
Your first Mysore session will be approximately 1 hour.
How long before I practice the whole sequence?
That depends on how hard you work at learning the poses and memorization. It is solely based on the individual.
Do I need to memorize the poses?
No memorization is needed for the first class. At your first class, your teacher will begin giving you poses and teaching you a sequence. To progress, you will need to memorize the poses that your teacher gives you.
What class should I start with?
All students should start with Mysore or Ashtanga 101.
Please keep your mat, mat towels and clothing fresh and clean.
Refrain from wearing strongly scented perfumes while practicing.
Shower before practice.
If your sweat drips on the floor, please wipe it before leaving.
Follow the instruction being given by the teacher.
Please follow the traditional Ashtanga method as taught by Sri. K Pattabhi Jois. Please do not add, skip or deviate from the sequence without speaking to your teacher.
Do not assist other practitioners.
No talking during class except to the teacher and Ashtanga assistant.
If you choose Y2 Yoga as your Ashtanga home, please do not take any new asanas, that were not given to you by your teachers at Y2 Yoga, without discussing it with your teacher first.
Please do not take any props from the closet before speaking with your teacher.
No shoes in the practice room.
Do not bring mobile phones into the practice room. If you would like to take a picture or video of your practice, check with your teacher first.
If the studio is busy, please allow space for everyone to move freely by shifting when needed and lining your mat up with the white marks on the floor.
Please leave your personal items in the lockers or cubbies so that the floor is clear and safe for students and teachers to move.
To keep the heat building in the body, no water is allowed. Please hydrate before class.