Ashtanga FAQ

Do I need to bring a yoga mat?
We have some yoga mats at each venue. As you become a regular attendee at classes, it is good to have your own mat for hygiene reasons and also so that you can practice at home. It means you can take your mat wherever you travel and always have a place to practice.

What do I wear?
Comfortable sports/yoga clothing. We tend to create heat/sweat during an Asthanga practice so wearing layers is good.

Can I eat before?
It is recommended that you don’t eat for at least 2 hours before you practice. If you are really hungry then a banana up to 25 minutes before works.

How much are the classes and can I purchase a block?
Prices vary depending on the venue and location. Please email me and I’ll let you know.

I’m not very flexible and can’t touch my toes and I’m not very strong. Can I still attend?
Yes. You don’t have to be flexible or strong to do yoga. We become both of these as our practice deepens. Yoga is a personal practice so we look to not compete with ourselves or compare to others.

How does Ashtanga differ from a regular Hatha yoga class?
Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic form of hatha yoga, where we flow from posture to posture with the breath. Each movement has a counted vinyasa (movement with the breath). Ashtanga yoga has a set sequence of postures. Traditionally, Ashtanga yoga is taught as a self practice where the student carries out their practice at their own pace, called Mysore Style. The teacher giving adjustments and advice on an individual basis in a group setting.

If Ashtanga is following a set series then is an ashtanga class exactly the same each time (if so why?) or does it change? Won’t I get bored?
The sequence is the same. This is the ‘constant’ of the practice. The beauty of this system is that although it is the same sequence, each time you practice it will feel different; your experience will never be exactly the same. It allows you to explore, self study and examine yourself. A journey that is constantly changing, unfolding and transforming as we become even more aware. And as your body becomes stronger, more open and we develop stamina the teacher can add additional postures to our sequence.

There will be times when boredom arises like in all areas of life when we do something regularly. Sometimes we will love our practice, every moment and breath will feel amazing and other times it may feel like we are moving through mud. By practising we begin to realise that whatever comes up is ok and will pass, the joy and the challenges.

My impression (and brief experience) of Ashtanga yoga is that it is all rather fast and furious and not really for me. Am I mistaken in thinking this?
In a led type class it can seem fast if you are used to a slower type of yoga. There are many techniques that can be learnt to allow the transitions in Ashtanga to flow with more ease so that although we are moving we can feel more comfortable with the pace. One of the keys to the practice is to be in the moment, so with each breath and each movement – like a moving meditation. This can make the experience feel slower. When we attend a self practice/Mysore class we are moving at our own pace with the teacher’s guidance.

Is Ashtanga yoga suitable for beginners?
Yes. We will help you from wherever you are right now. Mysore practice is perfect for beginners. We regularly run introductory to give some background to the practice and to begin learning the sequence.

What if I don’t remember what I’ve been taught the week before – if I forget what comes next?
That is completely ok. Your teacher will guide you and help you to remember by teaching you the Vinyasa count for each posture or group of postures.

What is vinyasa?
Vinyasa is the counted breath movement.

I’ve heard Ashtanga is challenging?
Meeting challenges in our yoga practice and working with these gives us strength in body and mind. This will in turn help us to meet challenges in every day life!

The most important thing in our practice is that the mind is present. The more we practice, this naturally happens and how much we can do or can’t do will not seem so important. Joy will come from the practice itself.

Can I attend different types of yoga if I practice Ashtanga?
Yes. If you connect to other types of yoga and teachers and they work for you as well as your Ashtanga practice then great.

How many times a week do I need to practice?
Traditionally we practice 3 to 6 times a week. And even if you are only able to make a class once a week then 10 mins of Sun Salutations at home 3 to 6 times a week can be amazing.

What is the significance of the opening and closing chants?
The opening chant is about giving thanks to our teachers for passing on yoga and in particular Patanjali, the Sage who gave us the Yoga Sutras – the 8-fold path or system to Self realisation. Hatha yoga being part of the 8-fold path. The closing chant is about asking or sending positive energy outwards. Giving hope that those who lead, do so with compassion, kindness and love.