Ashtanga

Shaucha | शौच | purity & cleanliness

Shaucha is the 1st Niyama of Yoga; or the restraints of behavior. This concept that is central to the Indian religion and yoga and is part of what creates a clear and focused mind. It also means a clean body and sets of actions; its implies purity and cleanliness through all of life in a balanced way.

It is also important when speaking to aim to control your communications from a calm and peaceful mind. Saucha is most often practiced in daily life, whilst cleaning your space; or your car; doing your laundry or even taking showers. Nourishment and organization are also central to saucha.

Saucha and Santosha are very interconnected. One leads to the other, which is why saucha is the first Niyama and Santosha is the second. And remember that these are behavioral guidelines or ways to act around others.

Saucha’s concepts lend themselves to better Focus

Meditation was created to clear and enhance mental focus. Saucha is a part of that because meditation requires a little bit of preparation; sometimes a shower before, or simply taking off your shoes and sitting on a pillow or a mat, etc. So keeping space clean is an important part of that. In yoga, it is very important to keep the space clean of pests; especially in post WW2 India. It is also about creating a clean relationship to yourself; getting rid of the baggage so to speak. Cleaning not only enhances your mental health, but it also removes stress from your body. “Clutter and mess can create more stress and anxiety, but by cleaning, organizing, and reducing the clutter, people are able to take control of their environment and create a more relaxing environment that helps them focus better on the more pressing issues in their lives.”[7]

5 Techniques to create Saucha

  1. Meditate for a couple of minutes first thing in the morning. Clear your mind before your day.
  2. Neti Pot – clear your nasal cavity
  3. Dharana Meditation – focus on a single object and stare at it for 5 minutes or more. Choose a few objects of different distances for longer practice.
  4. Declutter and clean your house and your car
  5. Eat organic foods

References:

  1. The Art of Living Retreat Center – How to Live in Harmony with Yourself and the World Around You
  2. The Art of Living Retreat Center – Saucha – the First Niyama
  3. Bret Larking – What is Saucha
  4. Yoga International – Yamas and Niyamas
  5. Wikipedia – Niyamas
  6. Wikipedia – Saucha
  7. Very Well Mind – The Connection Between Decluttering, Cleaning, and Mental Health
  8. Forbes – the Mental Health Benefits of a Clean Home

Shaucha | शौच | purity & cleanliness Read More »

Dall-E & the E.T. - Santosha

Santosha | संतोष | Contentment | Satisfaction

Santosha, the second Niyama of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is sometimes spelled Santosa, is a portmanteau in Sanskrit, derived from Saṃ-prefix (सं-, सम्-) and Tosha (तोष (from root √तुष्, √tuṣ)). SaM-, means “completely”, “altogether” or “entirely”,[5] and Tosha (from the root √tus), “contentment”, “satisfaction”, “acceptance”, “being comfortable”.[5]

In modern Californian yoga culture, we say, “chillin” to express this. Contentment is the name of the game. Yoga and santosha are somewhat synonymous; it is a big part of yogic philosophy.

Dall-E & the E.T. - Santosha

Sam is similar to sum, totality and entirely. Tosha or Tushti (तुष्टि) is about appreciation, mindfulness, gratitude, harmony, an active inner contentment. But like all other Sanskrit words; there is a rather distinct philosophical implication behind this compounded idea.

Samtosa, or Santosha means inner serenity; a lacking of cravings and desires; satisfaction in the present. In a way, it is less reactive and more sustainable than happiness, which would be more like the upward part of a mountain that has a valley beneath it. It is like a gentle hum in the background of life that keeps you excited for what comes next.

Minimization is important in the philosophies of santosha. Less things and obligations; more relationships, time with nature, etc. We have so much in the way of our happiness; how can we possibly enjoy ourselves if we don’t take any time to feel that way. Difficulty will always exist; especially with big challenges. Santosha exists in small moments; like taking your time to enjoy the first sip of coffee you have or to eat a decent breakfast.

Relinquishing expectations can also create a path for cultivating Santosha. This is something I’ve had to do with my own life in big ways; letting go of thinking that I would be a full-time yoga instructor; or that I was ready to start a landscaping business by myself have been big lessons for me. I am finding Santosha in the journey of creating these things in balance.

This concept, Santosha, has been a theme as I’ve started a new job at Bushnell’s landscaping service. It will be great to have steady work and will provide an excellent opportunity to learn from a successful, high quality tradesman.

Contentment is hard when you have to let go of a successful and fun yoga class. My Wednesday noon class at East Wind in Roseville always felt special, like a fun and welcoming place to come back to. However, transitioning that class to another teacher has been a long time in coming. I’ve had several projects where taking the time to teach yoga at noon has been very difficult. I still teach Tuesday evening 7pm and Sunday evening 5pm classes.

DALL·E & the E.T. - Job's loss (biblical)
DALL·E & the E.T. – Job’s loss (biblical)

I’d like to add another class or maybe two; I’d like to teach more yoga at the very beginning and the end of the day so we’ll see if that can work out this year!

EROS part 3 has also been slightly put on the back-burner; I am still finishing the music, just a lot slower than I was able to when I had all day to work on it. I have a couple more dnb tracks and a couple of house tracks to get out there. Some really cool sound designs on these! The new full- time job has been really time consuming, which is great! But I don’t get as much time for music so I’ll have to double down on sound design and melody writing after work.

Niyama #2

Santosha is the second of Patanjali’s Niyamas; it means contentment and also unison with what is; reality. Santosha is an ethical concept in Hindu philosophy. It is a tenet of yoga and corresponds to the mental state that you are trying to create with asana. With focus, you can create a state of santosha by moving through all the things that make you unhappy or dissatisfied and accepting them; or coming to terms with their conclusions.

Santosha means to be completely content with, or satisfied with, accepting and comfortable in what is. To be present to everything and happy with it. This creates a personal growth that allows you to be okay with anything that is happening around you. Similar to a tree growing ferociously on the side of a cliff.

5 Ways to Create Santosha in your life

Dall-E & the E.T. - Job's cosmic spiritual battle
Dall-E & the E.T. – Job’s cosmic spiritual battle
  1. appreciate difficulty in your journey
  2. entertain the point of view of others
  3. be nice, but don’t give away your attention
  4. create commitment and discipline
  5. learn to love your flaws and weaknesses

What does Santosha really mean

Santosha is a method for creating happiness. It is not complacency! It is a method for drawing contentment from within to make what is happening on the exterior irrelevant. So a lot of times, you have to spend time creating it; it won’t just appear after a moment on your mat. Sometimes you have to sit with it for a few hours, or do 2 yoga classes in a row. Meditating really helps too, but that is an internal relationship that has to be built up over time. You have to learn how to enjoy being in warrior 2 when you don’t want to be. You have to show up for it, then stick with it and accept your feelings as it happens. Yoga is just like a simulation or practice ground for what happens in life.

Santosha is really cultivating a space inside of yourself that is nice to come back to. Much of Indian philosophies relate nourishment and satisfaction to commitment and discipline. This commitment and focus to contentment and satisfaction is a self-fulfilling prophecy in many ways. I believe it is how there are so many people out there that are happy without excess.

Santosha is Deep Satisfaction

Santosha is within your control; you simply have to actively cultivate it. It is about the story in your mind and realizing that is a fabrication and it detracts from your fun! Our true power exists in our ability to act and create in the present moment; when we are lost in our story, we lose sight of that. This also means recognizing that our words do not have power over us; when someone else uses a specific word that grabs your attention, remember that you give it power by spending time focusing on it. Redirect your attention and it loses its power and more important its meaning. We are the creators of meaning in our lives by choosing what we spend our time doing and who we spend our time with so we have to make sure that we are doing things that we are passionate about!

References:
  1. Ekhart Yoga – Santosha
  2. Yoga International – Is Santosha (Contentment) Really Possible?
  3. Hindu American – 5 Things to know about OM
  4. Yogajala – Santosha
  5. shahzadpurfarmyoga.com – Samkhya Karika 50, Satisfaction is of 9 Types, 4 Internal & 5 External
  6. Wikipedia – Santosha

Santosha | संतोष | Contentment | Satisfaction Read More »

Ashtanga Yoga with Elliot Workshop

I am honored to present you with my upcoming workshop series on Ashtanga Yoga. You can sign-up on the events page here.

Ashtanga Yoga with Elliot Poster
Ashtanga Yoga with Elliot Poster

You can also sign-up on Facebook, if you so desire. Drop-ins are welcome, but you will be missing out on additional information on the series and future events.

Practice the Primary Series by yourself, wherever you want.

The idea behind the workshop is to bring yoga home with you. The primary series could be thousands of years old, no one truly knows. But the grandfather of modern yoga Krishnamacharya expounded this method to BKS Iyengar and Patthabhi Jois in Mysore, India when they were teenagers. This method has evolved to become what we know today as Ashtanga yoga.

Youtube reference video of the Primary Series

Ashtanga Yoga with Elliot Workshop Read More »

Continuing Work with Ashtanga

Waking up early in 2020

Krishnamacharya

The new year has brought a new wave of inspiration for my yoga practice and working on the Ashtanga Primary series early in the morning. I’ve been waking up at 5:30, 6, and sometimes even earlier to ensure that I can do most of the series before I have to leave for work.

The entire series usually takes me a couple of hours, because I mediate for 10 minutes before and do some easy yin stretches if I need to before starting the series. Often I don’t finish, but about half of the time, I do. I’ve also practiced the intermediate series a few times, but I am working on getting my flexibility back so the primary series is what my body needs right now.

Adjustments

Patthabhi Jois

With that said, I am taking a long time to get warmed back up in the series. My shoulder are requiring a good amount of patience and stretching to re-align the ligamentation underneath my shoulder-blades and there’s no point in rushing. Rushing leads to loose ligaments that need to be re-tightened and stabilized.

Things are going great in the series, but I’ve had to back off a lot. I am also landscaping full-time right now. My wrists and hands have also needed a lot of care and slow stretching and supporting the series with yin has been the theme so far.

Performance Improvements

I think that on Saturday I held a handstand for a full minute really easily. My sinuses have improved and so has my digestion. My skin is also clearing up and I’m finding that I have a ton of energy during the day, but I am still adjusting to doing yoga every day. Ashtanga requires a lot of time and energy output, focus.

The First Ashtanga Workshop of 2020!

Saturday at 1 we had an awesome practicing the series! We only got through about half because of the orientation and making sure that people had adjustments available, but we did a lot! The opening chant was fun and we got a good chance to chat before the workshop began.

What an awesome group of people! A lot were fairly advanced and a few were probably close to the finishing postures of the series. I’m super excited to see what week 2 will bring.

Growing from Surya Namaskar

I’ll conclude with my biggest takeaway of practicing so often this year and that is self compassion. Some days, its okay to not finish. Some days, finish everything you can, especially if you wake up early and have time. A little amount of yoga and stretching goes a long way with the body and mind.

The two sun salutations are special in this way. You can wake up and practice them anywhere. And they are special movements for the spine, the nervous system, and the mind. I always feel soothed and more connected, clearer of mind and more focused after moving in unison with my breathing. The discipline of waking up early to unify the mind and the body are extremely rewarding in terms of mood and my ability to stay positive and not succumb to stress.

Its the little things that add up to something great. I’m excited for the second workshop this week. If you are going, practice a little every day and see how your body feels during the sequence!

Continuing Work with Ashtanga Read More »

Ashtanga with Elliot 2020 Yoga Workshop Series

This year I have decided to do something deeper and more durable for my yoga students.

Ever since India, I’ve wanted to share the daily Mysore style of yoga practice with my community and this dream is finally coming to fruition! Get into the best shape of your life with yoga!

Date and Times

Saturday, February 1st, I will be leading the Primary Series of Ashtanga from 1PM to 3pm. I will host this every Saturday at 1PM leading up to June 13th, which will be our 20th and final workshop for the series.

I will also be coaching and mentoring each student that wants to start a daily yoga practice from the Primary Series. I want to help YOU!

It’s time to transform your life! It will be A LOT of hard work, but the reward of better mental and physical health is extraordinarily valuable. This will also get your body into shape, lean, toned, and thin if you eat properly as well.

The coolest part about this workshop is that you can take it with you. This series isn’t going anywhere and is great for decompressing after traveling, or being cooped up in a desk or small space. There are so many benefits from a yoga practice.

Remaining Workshop Dates:

  1. 2/1
  2. 2/8
  3. 2/15
  4. 2/22
  5. 2/29
  6. 3/6
  7. 3/13
  8. 3/20
  9. 3/27
  10. 4/4
  11. 4/11
  12. 4/18
  13. 4/25
  14. 5/2
  15. 5/9
  16. 5/16
  17. 5/23
  18. 5/30
  19. 6/6
  20. 6/13

Pricing

The entire Series will be donation based. This DOES NOT mean free. It just means that you pay what you feel is right. Single Workshop sessions are $20 (if you only attend one).

FAQs

Q. What is the primary series?

A. The primary series is a specific sequence of yoga postures taught in Mysore India by the Jois family. It is widely regarded as the most advanced practice of physical yoga.

Q. Is it beginner friendly?

A. Yes, absolutely. This workshop is perfect for people new to yoga. Everyone from the experience teacher to the brand new yogi can learn the primary series. The series gets longer as you get more advanced, but the warm up is perfect for someone who has never practiced yoga before.

Q. Can I come to the workshop for free?

A. No. If you have circumstances preventing you from paying 5$ for a 2 hour class, we can talk about it, but the exchange of energy needs to be mutual. I have starved enough.

Q. Can I bring friends?

A. Of course! Please have them contact me to sign-up, or share this page with them.

Q. Do I have to attend every workshop? Can I choose a few to attend?

A. Yes, I understand that people are busy and that you may not be able to attend every workshop. I only ask that you let me know your plans when we start.

Q. How are you going to help me to practice every day?

A. I will be supplying large amounts of resources and information at the workshop dates. I will also be posting online about my own practice and will be enabling my students to practice as much as possible.

Ashtanga with Elliot 2020 Yoga Workshop Series Read More »

ashtanga yoga workshop #2 with Elliot

Ashtanga Workshop #2: Intermediate Series

What a great day for yoga on Saturday afternoon, it

was so much fun to share the Ashtanga yoga workshop on the Primary Series, or Mysore style of yoga practice with my friends in the East Wind community a little over two weeks ago. The Ashtanga yoga series workshop was difficult and taxing, but the participants were all warriors! Everyone who showed up got a great series of postures in which to practice their breath control and challenge their bodies and we got to have some fun chanting and challenging our minds and bodies.

The Second Workshop is on 3/3 in Auburn

In this Second Ashtanga Workshop, we will be practicing the first 11 postures of the Ashtanga Intermediate Series:

  1. Pasana
  2. Krounchasana
  3. Salabhasana A&B
  4. Bhekasana
  5. Danurasana
  6. Parsva Danurasana
  7. Ustrasana
  8. Laguvajrasana
  9. Kapotanasana A & B

Ashtanga Yoga Workshop #2 will also focus on advanced seated postures and modifications to help the body to find the stretch that the asana implies.

The Ashtanga Yoga Workshop will last 2 hours, but we will start to practice for longer if we all want to. Drop-backs might happen in this workshop, so get ready for some hands on backbends and handstands!

In the Second Ashtanga Yoga Workshop, we get to have some fun practicing advanced postures! Please ensure that you check your ego at the door to avoid any injuries and to optimally enjoy the difficulty of this practice 😉

Nadi Shodana or the Intermediate Series of Ashtanga has a total of about 40 postures

Second Series: by Dr. Ron Steiner

I have included some links to the postures so you can reference them before the workshop begins. We will be doing the same chaturanga basics and flow basics at the beginning of the workshop because working on alignment is a constant in the yoga practice to maintain the integrity of the postures. Get ready for some fun!

Ashtanga Workshop #2: Intermediate Series Read More »

ashtanga workshop w/ Elliot cover

Ashtanga Workshop: Primary Series Practice w/ Elliot

Ashtanga Workshop:
Practice the Primary Series w/Elliot

This Ashtanga Workshop for intermediate yogis is designed to help you transform your yoga practice into a more personal and healing ritual.

Practice the Ashtanga Primary series with Elliot on the first Saturday of each month at EAST WIND YOGA starting February 3rd! Sign up below…

Ashtanga Workshop designed For INTERMEDIATE to ADVANCED practitioners

This series will include additional workshops to cover various aspects of the postures and sequences that work up to the primary series, which is relatively advanced. These will accompany the primary series workshop as sister series. This is an opportunity for both practiced ashtangi and those that are brand new to the series to learn from the practice. Yogi’s should know sun salutation A and B or have practiced yoga for more than 1 year, with some regularity.

Space is Limited to 16 Spots. Reserve yours today by contacting Elliot @ etelford32@gmail.com.

Ashtanga Workshop Schedule:

  • 1:00-1:10 Minute Discussion, materials will have been previously provided via email
  • 1:11-1:15 Chant the Opening Mantra
  • 1:15-2:50 Practice the primary series with various modifications
  • 2:50-3:00 Questions, spare time for fall-backs, handstands, etc..
  • 3:00 Closing Mantra

The History of the Primary Series

Pattabhi Jois began teaching the primary series in 1948 in Mysore, India where I traveled in January 2015. The Jois Shala is now much larger than Pattabhi Jois’ first class capacity of 8 students. Pattabhi Jois is one of a short list of Indians who were instrumental in transmitting yoga from India to the West in the 20th century.[6]

The Roots of Yoga

Dive into the series that began the spread of yoga into the West and formed the foundation for modern-day vinyasa yoga. Move beyond the superficial western approach to yoga and into a deeper, vast ocean of personal space, discipline, honor, and care-taking of the incredible gift that is the human body.

Here are the videos I use for practicing the series:

Primary Series Video from 1989

Intermediate Series Video from 1989

Primary Series as Practiced by R. Sharath Jois

Yoga-Poses-Ashtanga-Primary

Ashtanga Primary Series Workshop Posture List:

  1. Standing Back Bend
  2. Forward Fold
  3. Half Lift
  4. Plank
  5. Chaturanga
  6. Cobra Pose
  7. Upward Dog
  8. Downward Dog
  9. Jump Through
  10. Mountains Pose
  11. Chair Pose
  12. Warrior 1
  13. Gorilla Pose
  14. Pangangustasana
  15. padahastasana
  16. Triangle Pose
  17. Revolved Triangle Pose
  18. Side-Angle Pose
  19. Revolved Side-Angle Pose
  20. Prasaraita A
  21. Prasaraita B
  22. Prasaraita C
  23. Prasaraita D
  24. Pyramid Pose
  25. Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana
  26. Arda Baddha Padmasana (w/ modifications)
  27. Utkatasana (extended hold)
  28. Virabhadrasana A (extended hold)
  29. Virabhadrasana B (extended hold)
  30. Arda Badha Padma Paschamotanasa (w/ modifications)
  31. triang mukha eka pada paschimatasana
  32. Janu Sirsasana A
  33. Janu Sirsasana B (w/ modifications)
  34. Janu Sirsasana C (w/ modifications)
  35. Marichyasana A (w/ modifications)
  36. Marichyasana B (w/ modifications)
  37. Marichyasana C (w/ modifications)
  38. Marichyasana D (w/ modifications)
  39. Navasana
  40. Bhujapidasana
  41. Upavistha Konasana  (w/ modifications)
  42. Supta konasana  (w/ modifications)
  43. Supta padangusthasana
  44. Ubhaya padanghustasana  (w/ modifications)
  45. Urdhva mukha paschimotanasana  (w/ modifications)
  46. Setu Bandhasana
  47. Salamba Sarvangasana
  48. Halasana
  49. Karnapidasana
  50. Urdhva Padmasana
  51. Pindasana
  52. Mathsyasana
  53. Uttana padasana
  54. Sirshasana
  55. Baddha Padmasana
  56. Yogi Mudra
  57. Padmasana
  58. Upplutihi

Opening Mantra:

OM
Vande Gurunam Caranaravinde Sandarsita Svatma Sukhava Bodhe Nih Sreyase Jangalikayamane Samsara Halahala Mohasantyai Abahu Purusakaram Sankhacakrasi Dharinam
Sahasra Sirasam Svetam Pranamami Patanjalim
OM

Opening Mantra Meaning:

om

I bow to the lotus feet of the Supreme Guru
which awaken insight into the happiness of pure Being,
which are the refuge, the jungle physician,
which eliminate the delusion caused by the poisonous herb of Samsara (conditioned existence).

I prostrate before the sage Patanjali
who has thousands of radiant, white heads (as the divine serpent, Ananta)
and who has, as far as his arms, assumed the form of a man
holding a conch shell (divine sound), a wheel (discus of light or infinite time) and a sword (discrimination).

om

Closing Mantra:

Om

Svasthi Praja Bhyaha Pari Pala Yantam
Nya Yena Margena Mahim Mahishaha
Go Brahmanebhyaha Shubamastu Nityam
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi

Closing Mantra Meaning:

Om

May the rulers of the earth keep to the path of virtue
For protecting the welfare of all generations.
May the religious, and all peoples be forever blessed,
May all beings everywhere be happy and free

Om peace, peace, perfect peace

If you want to practice the mantras, this is a great site

SIGN-UP For the Ashtanga Workshop

2/3 Auburn Sign-Up Form

[contact-form to=”etelford32@gmail.com” subject=”Sign-up for 2/3 Workshop in Auburn”][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”1″][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”1″][/contact-form]

 

You will receive a confirmation email when your name has been added to the participant list. Thanks!

Ashtanga Workshop: Primary Series Practice w/ Elliot Read More »

new year fireworks

New Year and New Resolution for the Future

2018 Happy New Year

New Year of Music, the Eros Album, and Getting into Playing Live Shows

I am working hard this new year on an album/Live show experience that will be a couple of years in the making. The music itself is forming pretty quickly, but will require a bunch of visual work to bring to life the world that I am creating. Also, Ableton is releasing a new version of Live soon in the new year. That should make my creativity spike in February or March.

There is going to be a story line behind it that I have been working on for a few months. I have written some great beats and even have a few near complete tracks. But I want to ensure that the tracks are all cohesive, so I am making sure to design sounds that I use across various tracks. This is my first concept album, so get stoked.

New Year Yoga and Ashtanga

Living in America and practicing lots of yoga at the same time is a difficult endeavor. Right now, I am getting ready for the New Year rush. The studio is going to be packed with awesomeness soon! When you throw teaching on top of that and a second job because teaching isn’t enough by itself, you have just enough to make someone completely exhausted.

I still practice yoga every day, but not for 2 hours or more, which is how I’d like to. First thing in the morning! But I still take a day or two off each week. I love just waking up early to the practice and breathing. And I’ve really started to miss India. There is something really special about going over there to learn yoga from the people who have experienced it as a part of tradition.

I have my first Ashtanga Workshop on February 3rd, so get ready! I am going have people sign-up beforehand and give out lots of information before we get started with the primary series.

More focus on Quality of Experience

Both in music and in yoga I try to focus on the experience of the person that has signed up for the time period and making their time as enjoyable possible. I am trying to do that while working on giving individuals attention and affirmation as often as I can. I also try to help people to understand the difficulty of what they are trying to do, but in the new year I will simply be continuing to work on connecting with individuals.

A YouTube Channel in the new year

My biggest New Years Resolution is to start a YouTube channel where I can share what I know about yoga. I  think that my knowledge will be super useful to people of all ages! Also, I have a lot of killer abdominal exercises.. I will be carving out a section of my website for this as well, so expect some changes soon.

Music everyday in 2018 is a given. I am recommitting to my daily yoga practice. And finally I want to try to post a blog article every day of 2018.

Happy New Year Everyone! Let me know about your resolutions/goals are!

New Year and New Resolution for the Future Read More »

http://ashtangayogaathens.com/2014/08/healing-injuries-with-ashtanga-yoga/

5 Reasons I Don’t Practice Ashtanga Everyday

I still practice Ashtanga.

Just not every day. I practiced every day while I was in India up until 3 months ago and when I began to travel. However, I stopped practicing every day and have gone back to a more diverse practice of general Hatha poses. But there are some major reasons why I stopped practicing Ashtanga every day and starting practicing it more like twice a week. You should know them

  1. Muscle mechanics – Muscles are designed to handle unforeseen obstacles, in fact they perform extremely well in a diverse landscape and require different types of movements than only the poses of the primary series to functioning optimally. We are not meant to walk on treadmills, we are meant to climb hills and rocks, ice and mountains. There are fundamental movements that are missing from Pattabhi Jois‘ method, originally prescribed by Krishnamacharya. Low lunges, certain types of sitting, abdominal exercises, and back lengthening are all missing from Krishnamacharya’s sequences, likely because they were as necessary in the lifestyles of young Indians at the time. With modern science, especially in the fields of anatomy and physiology, we can structure other exercises to compliment the poses of the primary series to make our practice of the old method more efficient.
  2. Injuries – It’s easy to get injured while practicing Ashtanga, especially while practicing every day. Some studies have posted numbers as high as 60% of people who practice Ashtanga get injured and I would be willing to bet a lot of the injuries are knees, ankles, and toes. When you practice the same routine every single day it is easy to become somewhat mindless in the practice and to allow things to move on autopilot. This is not necessarily very good for your muscles either because they get used to the same movements and over time try to create shortcuts. Muscle confusion is a good remedy for this.
  3. Sense of Progress – Ashtanga give the practitioner a false sense of progress every day. You become efficient and masterful at certain asanas while forgetting others and focusing on a non-existent path in Ashtanga. The path is the same whether you practice Ashtanga or not and being able to perform yoga poses should only lead to a sense of internal triumph, rather than comparative progress. Where is yoga taking you anyways?
  4. Time – Yoga is a huge time commitment. Ashtanga is oftentimes an even bigger one, with full sequencing and the need to warm up and prepare mentally. I like to take 2 hours to practice Ashtanga, it gives me plenty of time for headstand and the closing sequences and I don’t feel rushed. Did I mentioned I spent 10 breaths in a lot of poses?
  5. Variation is beautiful – Why practice only one style of yoga? We are born into an age with seemingly limitless traditions and styles to draw from, we should take advantage of this. Incredibly skilled teachers also seem to be popping out like daisies so take advantage while you can!

I also do other forms of exercises, like running, and climbing, hiking, and generally spend a lot of time outside. You should switch it up every once in a while, your body will love you for it!

 

See a few more articles about Ashtanga here:

  1. Is Ashtanga Dangerous?
  2. Injury Rates in 2008 (fishy…)
  3. Elephant Journal Drama
  4. Daily Ashtangi
  5. Ashtanga Injuries

5 Reasons I Don’t Practice Ashtanga Everyday Read More »

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