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How does Ashtanga Yoga differ from other types of yoga?

The primary difference between Ashtanga Yoga and other forms of hatha yoga is the use of vinyasa, the principle of flowing movement synchronized with the breath. In addition to creating strength, flexibility and a purifying sweat, using vinyasa as the foundation of the practice, draws the mind inward, towards the Self, which creates a meditation-in-motion, a state of well-being, mental clarity and an open heart.
Another difference is that Ashtanga Yoga follows prescribed sequences of asanas (postures). Each asana grows out of the one before it and is preparation for the next. Adhering to the sequence also prevents the practitioner from focusing only on his or her individual strengths while avoiding his or her weaknesses. When practicing in this way, ample opportunities arise to develop the virtues of patience, faith, acceptance and non-attachment.

Why are the Mysore classes not held on the Full and New moons?

Traditionally, Ashtanga Yoga is not practiced on moon days because the lunar cycles have a strong affect on our personal energy. The Full and New moons are the strongest points of the lunar cycle and it is said that because our energy is strongly affected on these days, there is a greater risk of injury and that injuries suffered on moon days take longer to heal. On the New moon, our bodies strongly feel the effects of gravity. They are very grounded, but usually feel very heavy and inflexible. On the Full moon, the body is full of ungrounded energy which creates physical instability. For these reasons, yoga practice is not recommended. Stay home, rest, honour the moon and enjoy the day off.

To view a list of Moon Days, visit our Moon Days page.

How do I start classes at the Shala?

Please visit our New To Yoga? page.

How often should I practice?

Ashtanga Yoga is designed as a daily practice under the guidance of a qualified teacher with rest taken on Saturday and the days of the Full and New moon. Women are also encouraged to rest during the first three days of their menstural cycle. This consistency and commitment allows students to see progress in their practice and to experience the profound benefits of yoga in their lives. Sporadic and inconsistent attendance usually leads to frustration and disillusionment with the practice.

How will I know what to do?

Students are taught by the teacher, who moves about the practice room giving each student individual instruction, adjustments and support within the group setting. The teacher maintains a high level of supervision to ensure students are practicing correctly and safely. Ashtanga Yoga consists of a progressive series of postures that is repeated each practice. Students are taught this sequence by the teacher methodically over time. The sequence is easily memorized with regualr practice.

Will my practice be 4 hours long!?

Of course not :). The duration of each student's practice corresponds to the amount of the Ashtanga sequence that they've been taught. Therefore, students arrive at their own convenience within the scheulded block of time provided they are finished by the end of class. New students learning from scratch can expect to be practicing between 45 and 60 minutes for their first few classes. Over time, the practice becomes longer as the student learns more postures. Eventually, students should expect to have a practice of approximately 90 minutes.

Do I have to be fit and flexible?

There are no pre-requisites to starting or practicing yoga. If you can breathe, you can do yoga. It is a personal, non-competitive and non-performance oriented practice. It doesn't matter at what age or fitness-level you begin. Through the practice of yoga, you will develop the strength, endurance and flexibility you need to be fit and healthy. All you need to do is show up. As Guruji says, "Do your practice and all is coming."

What should I bring?

As this practice produces a purifying sweat, for hygenic reasons, we recommend that you bring your own yoga mat and a towel to practice. In the beginning, if you don't have your own yoga mat, you can rent one for $1 per class. Please arrive having showered and wearing clean yoga clothes.

Wear flexible, lightweight and non-binding clothing such as shorts and stretchy workout wear. Yoga is done in bare feet so you do not require footwear or socks.

We have a shower! Please bring your own towel.

We have filtered water for rehydrating after practice.

Can I drink water during class?

It is best to drink plenty of water before and after yoga practice.  It is not recommended to interrupt the flow of your practice and your concentration to have a drink.  It is also uncomfortable to do yoga asanas with water in your belly.

Should women practice during menstruation?

Some light stretching may help to alleviate menstrual cramps and lower back pain.  However, it is not recommended for women to do the Ashtanga practice during the first three days of their cycle (affectionately referred to as "Lady's Holiday").  It is important to allow the body to rest during these days. The use of mula & uddiyana bandhas and inverted poses work against the natural rhythms of the body during menstruation. Rest and you'll be ready to resume practice in a few days.

If you have any other questions please email us. We will reply as soon as possible.