What is unique about Ashtanga Yoga is that it is taught in the traditional format. This means that there are two styles you can choose from. Mysore style is a self-paced, individualized practice. Students are taught one posture at a time beginning with the primary series. Students practice the same sequence of asanas, adding the next in the sequence when the teacher feels the student is ready. It is similar to a private lesson in that a student develops a relationship with the teacher and the teacher is monitoring the students progress. Although there is attention paid to each individual, there are many students practicing in the room at the same time. It may seem chaotic at first glance, but the teacher is keeping track of each student’s progress in the series. Students of all levels are welcome to attend these classes, however drop-ins are NOT encouraged because it takes time to develop an understanding of the practice and for the teacher to become accustomed to the student’s practice (and vice versa).
In the led style, the instructor leads the entire class through the primary series at the same time. This class is taught in sanskrit. Drop-ins are okay, but it is best if you have been practicing some form of yoga asana for at least a few months. The reason for this is because there is no discussion of alignment, anatomy, or modifications. For these things, it is better to attend Mysore classes, or a private lesson. Students may be asked to stop at a specific pose and watch until finishing postures.
Oh, and I should mention, this practice is not easy. It is demanding. It is relentless. It can change your body, your life, and how you see the world. It is a powerful practice, but it is not for everyone. But for those of us who have been bitten by the bug, there is no going back. Give it a try, you never know. Enjoy:)
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