What is Ashtanga Yoga?
Ashtanga Yoga is a form of classical yoga passed to Sri K Pattabhi Jois from Sri T. Krishnamacharya who also taught BKS Iyengar (Iyengar Yoga), TKV Desikachar (Viniyoga), and Indra Devi, all of whom endeavored to disseminate these teachings in the West. The Ashtanga practice is a vinyasa practice. What makes this practice unique is that it weaves together three points of awareness/internalization (known as Tristhana in Sanskrit) — Breath, body and gaze, and as such weaves together 4 of the 8 limbs of the classical yoga system–pranayama, asana, pratyahara, and dharana, ultimately creating the possibility of samadhi. This is distinct from other systems of yoga which separate these various practices from one another in various ways. For more information on classical yoga (ashta-anga and Patanjali’s kriya yoga) please refer to The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, trans. with commentary, Georg Feuerstein.
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga consists of three main sequences of asana (postures). Primary series is the beginners’ series and is know as yoga-chikitsa, or yoga-therapy, and it’s aim is in aligning the physical body and purifying the internal organs.
I am a beginner, where do I start?
Our entry level classes are our ‘All-Levels’ classes. Ashtanga All-Levels is taught by Julie Stewart; Ashtanga-Mysore All-Levels is taught by Elizabeth Rogers; Iyengar All-Levels is taught by Scott Schroeder, and our All-Levels gentle-flow classes are taught by Crystal Logan. Please see our full schedule to determine what class times will work for you and keep in mind that the minimum amount of practice to build a solid practice is 3x/week. While it is ideal to be in the studio three classes/week, it suffices to practice what you remember from class at home one day a week. We are also open to forming small donation-based ‘practice groups’ during the early mornings and mid-afternoons. If you are interested in forming one of these groups and being in charge of it (opening and closing studio space, maintaining contact with participants) please contact Elizabeth.
You may also start with one on one sessions (see Therapeutics for more information).
What time should I get to class?
Arrive for class on time, allowing enough time to sign in and set up your practice space. Doors open 10-15 minutes before the class begins. Classes may be going on before your scheduled class begins, so please do not knock, bang or rattle the door if it is locked.
If this is your first time attending class, please seek out your teacher who will acclimate you to the practice space and class sign-in.
What should I wear?
Wear comfortable clothing—less is better. Nothing too baggy.
Please do not wear any perfume, cologne, after shave, etc. Just like natural body odors, these artificial odors will be intensified by the heat of the practice. Some students who come to the studio are very sensitive to chemicals. Please be aware of body hygiene, especially in the hot Atlanta summers: that deodorant you put on at 6 a.m. has probably seen better days by the time your 6 p.m. yoga class rolls around!
What should I eat before class?
Arrive on an empty stomach. Wait 3 hours after a large meal, 1.5 hours after a light snack. Food in your stomach makes class harder. Be sure you are hydrated, but do not drink large amounts of water just before class! Instead, hydrate slowly through out the day.
Are there mats available to borrow?
Yes, mats are available for free to our new students, but we encourage you to purchase a mat within the first few weeks of your practice. We are a practice space and as such we do not do retail. However, mats are readily available for purchase online. We prefer Prana and Manduka.
Other props—blocks, straps and blankets—are available to borrow. Please puts all props you’ve borrowed back neatly in their proper place after class. If you get something sweaty please be prepared to clean it!
How often should I practice?
Realistically, we have found that 3-4 practice periods a week is sufficient to build a solid practice.
Will my other fitness activities (i.e. weight training, running, ect.) erase the benefits of doing yoga?
No. Yoga will enhance your other physical activities by helping to keep you strong, aware and injury free.