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Systematic and meditative vinyāsa yoga practice

Ashtanga yoga is a system of yoga postures linked together in a slow rhythmic flow of breath and dynamic movements (vinyāsa), originating from India. When practiced regularly, this practice gives vibrant health and a strong body, mind and breath awareness.

The breath is the most central element to the practice, coupled with a deep concentration inwards (pratyāhāra) during the whole practice.

The practice may seem like an acrobatic exercise, since we use our bodies to achieve these states of inner concentration and focus in hatha yoga.

When you start practicing ashtanga yoga, you will first learn the ujjayi breathing technique, inner activations (bandhas), and slowly start learning the primary series (yoga chikitsa), which is the first series of yoga postures (asana) in ashtanga yoga.

Led classes

Ashtanga yoga is typically taught in two ways: as a led group class and as a traditional Mysore style self-paced practice (see below).

A led class is what most people are used to when going to any modern yoga class or gym class. We all practice together in unison to the instructions of the teacher. This also means that the practice is more difficult to tailor to each individual student, but this is typically the easiest way to start your yoga practice, and this is also how most beginner courses are taught.

Alex is offering different levels of the led classes, since it may be a bit confusing to start without a beginners course. Mysore classes are open to all levels of practitioners who have attended at least a beginners course (or suchlike).

Mysore classes

Mysore classes are the highlight and strong point of the Ashtanga Yoga method.

In a Mysore style class everyone is practicing their individual practice independently, and the teacher is walking around and helping and teaching each and every one individually. This is the traditional way of practicing and learning ashtanga yoga, and is individual teaching in a group setting.

The teacher is not guiding the whole group, but everyone is doing their own ashtanga practice individually. Yes, this means that you need to memorise the sequence, or be able to practice using a paper sheet of sequence (available in the yoga shala, ask the teacher).

As a minimum you need to be able to practice the sun salutations, and half of the standing sequence to join the Mysore classes. After a beginners course with Alex you are able to do this (and much much more).

In the Mysore classes you learn little by little, and as you practice more regularly you will get new asanas added to your practice individualized to your physical abilities and needs. This means that everyone in the Mysore room typically has a different practice, and different length of the practice. Someone maybe practicing half of the primary series, while someone else practices the intermediate series, or full primary series.

As your breath becomes more smooth and you gain more control of your body, being able to practice with more ease, the teacher will start taking you further into the practice series, giving you new asanas one by one. Typically we don’t bring new asanas into our practice on our own, and in the beginning we try to give the student a practice that they are able to finish every time, not taking too much at once.

Repetition and regularity in practice is more important than having a long practice with difficult postures.