So there. Upon returning to Ireland, I thought, “I guess I can drag my ass out of bed early in the morning to practice yoga,” because once you’ve done it a few times, it becomes easy. We would also have long conversations about pooping habits, and which naughty students were studying another philosophy, against Guruji’s wishes. Visiting Ashrams in India, one might find people who are wearing baggy pants and covering themselves with shawls. There are many ways to fit yoga practice into a day. Practicing yoga prompted reflections on how my partying could be destroying my body, and it created a bit of a chasm with my boyfriend and social circle. In each place the local culture influences how the Ashtanga community sees itself and I’ve noticed social pressures in each place. We started at 6:00 A.M. (each morning)—yep, on a Saturdays in Rome—and I arrived to a packed room full of Italian yogis. I’ve often told students that yoga is practiced all the time, but only now do I really know what that means. I would argue that Westerners in general are much more obsessed with looks. When we do this we lose our sense of discernment and we’ve seen this a lot recently; in the sex scandals surfacing around yogis whose followers put them on a pedestal. to get two free reads: By creating an account you agree to Elephant's Terms and Privacy Policy. View the complete Ashtanga yoga primary series sequence. We're protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. heart articles you love. I hate to say this, but Ashtanga is often badly taught. When I started Ashtanga I was a corporate junkie who worked crazy hours and drank a ton. The article unleashed a slew of reflections on many of the preconceptions and misconceptions that people have about Ashtanga yoga. If I don’t, I wake up starving and have trouble getting through practice. What are your conceptions around Ashtanga yoga? Addiction is a physical need for something. By creating an account you agree to Elephant's Terms and Privacy Policy. Slowly I began to meet others who were not as obsessed with partying and I began to study Ayurveda, (yoga’s sister science), and I quit the corporate job. | "Elephant Journal" & "Walk the Talk Show" are registered trademarks of Waylon H. Lewis, Enterprises. It means we need to re-examine our approach to the posture. Many people have difficulty with the discipline that it takes to drag our butts out of bed for yoga, and I did in the beginning. Enhanced Flexibility: As with most yoga forms, Ashtanga Yoga gradually enhances flexibility when … Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. There are whispers about who had been given a new posture, started on Intermediate or Advanced A Series, ate dinner in the evenings, pigged out on ice cream and cakes after practice, smoked pot and came to class stoned—(although this may be the same person who pigged out). The level of yoga talk there is unbelievable, and on all subjects. This changed after spending a weekend in Rome studying with Lino Miele. However it does encourage discipline. ashtanga,cults,culture,richard freeman,Yoga. We're community-driven. Through years of practice, I’ve surprised myself. I have not had any injuries from yoga—seriously. The names of the yoga poses that make up the Ashtanga Primary Series give clues to their ability to promote the health of the physical body but not just – many Ashtanga poses are named after an animal or natural phenomena that symbolises the essence of a specific quality of life-force. While I don’t care enough about my looks to get surgery or to dye my hair, I think most people care to some degree about their looks. So what? Reflecting back, the biggest pressures came during my many trips to the epicenter of Ashtanga in India. It takes 7 seconds to join. Ashtanga Advanced Series: Third Series Of Ashtanga Yoga Students of Ashtanga Yoga experience transformational change with their strength, flexibility, concentration, and energy with the practice of primary and intermediate series. This is how one really progresses at yoga—not by pushing through the pain. We focus on anything that's good for you, good for others, and good for our planet. Also, so many social engagements are in the evenings and I don’t think it’s healthy to exclude a whole time period of socializing due to a silly rule. I ended up compensating by eating more at breakfast and dinner and not feeling very good, and my weight was also more when I tried to restrict myself unnaturally. This does not mean that I think they are beyond reproach. A nice byproduct of consistent practice is increasing strength and flexibility; this is true, but not a bad thing. I remember practicing in London years ago and seeing someone do Pincha Mayurasana, thinking, “Wow, I’ll never be able to do that pose in a million years.”. Practicing yoga prompted reflections on how my partying could be destroying my body, and it created a bit of a chasm with my boyfriend and social circle. If we begin the study of yoga with the first limbs of yoga, we learn two concepts Ghandi adopted and spread: non-violence and truthfulness. When you heart, comment or share, the article's "Ecosystem" score goes up—helping it to be seen by more readers & helping the author to get paid. I would often ask Tiwariji, my pranayama and philosophy teacher, what I should be doing with food, as I was looking for strict guidelines. Over the years I’ve noticed strange eating behaviors around yoga, and some could be eating disorders masquerading as rules around practice. If trying to achieve lotus is hurting your knee, rather than let your ego take charge and continue to hurt yourself, maybe you should step away. Ashtanga has helped me to see past certain limitations that I put on myself—accomplished through the format of a yoga pose. It wasn’t true. They may not be for you. Why not join the Elephant community, become an Elephriend. Since starting yoga in 1999, I’ve practiced Ashtanga in Ireland, France, Thailand, India, and recently New Orleans. It’s something awesome that I do for myself when I can. Save $175 here. When I started Ashtanga I was a corporate junkie who worked crazy hours and drank a ton. I loved and still love Guruji with all my heart. But I still find that socializing in the evening is a healthy part of life. He would laugh and reply with a great line from the Hathapradipika, “Remember Jessica, too much insistence on the rules is a hindrance to the yogi.”. I love studying with the more experienced teachers, but I would not loose my common sense around them and I do not put these teachers on pedestals. By creating an account you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I beg to differ. Pain hurts, and we should not continue to do something that hurts us. Is this the goal of an Ashtanga practice? Hey, thanks so much for reading! I would find it hard to believe that Ashtangis are any worse than others. When you get serious about this practice, you must become a hermit. This is a general tendency in many styles of so called “traditional” yoga. Now that yoga has ballooned in popularity, practitioners often place themselves in one group or another. And I’ve gone pretty far in my practice. I’m learning all about Karma yoga—having my baby boy puts everything into perspective. Yoga Chikitsa (योग चिकित्सा, Yoga Cikitsā) is the Sanksrit (संक्सृत्, Saṁksr̥t) name for the primary series and it can be translated as Yoga Therapy. >>. Your investment will help Elephant Journal invest in our editors and writers who promote your values to create the change you want to see in your world! I’ll admit that I have done this in the past, but the wise words of my teacher, Tiwari, come to mind; “Jessica, never ever condemn other styles of yoga. Generally, I don’t think that ashtanga has negative consequences from practicing, nor does it encourage neurological impairment. I tried to fool myself into thinking I wasn’t hungry in the evenings. I do not eat big meals in the evenings, especially if I’m waking early, but I usually have something. Unfortunately, many Westernized styles of yoga put a lot of emphasis on the “body beautiful.” Many people practice yoga to have a nice rounded, firm, derriere in their Lululemon yoga pants. During many trips to Mysore I would wake up at 3:00 A.M. to prepare for the 4:00 A.M. practice start times. Pain is our body telling us that we are doing something we shouldn’t. Each person has a different goal. ... salutation for a physically demanding practice that involves synchronizing the breath with near-constant movement in a series of postures. I will practice after I teach, and sometimes in the afternoon. Being violent to oneself goes against an extremely important concept of yoga. We do not need to give it up to be serious about yoga. Join & get 2 free reads. Welcome to elephant's ecosystem. I covered this in point earlier. A more balanced approach might be to try balancing having a social life with managing a yoga practice. Save $175 on our 3-week (live!)