Popularized by the late K. Pattabhi Jois, traditional Ashtanga is a method of asana practice that places emphasis on a specific set of sequences, a particular type of breathing, directing the eyes to particular places in each pose, and holding each posture and moving from posture to posture in a specific manner based on breath-movements. This system is also characterized by its extreme athleticism and by its step-by-step (vinyasa) approach that truly allows practitioner of all levels to start where they are.
You will become extremely fit doing this practice but you start where you are. Originally all teachers were certified personally by Mr. Jois, usually from his studio in Mysore, India. At YogaPoser, we recognize that the teacher-student relationship in the West is typically very different from the guru-disciple relationship in the East. In the West the student tends to want more of a customized and interactive experience, where their specific needs and abilities are addressed. Further, we recognize that the American body and lifestyle is usually very different from the Indian body and lifestyle. Finally, we fully honor the teachings of the Yoga Sutras, which emphasize throughout that each practitioner finds what works best for him or her and may be quite different from other students of yoga.
For all of these reasons, we call this practice American Ashtanga. It is not taught the same way that it is taught in India. We customize the practice, usually with props or modifications, to the American student and further to each individual. We do this with tremendous respect for the traditional Mysore style and we acknowledge that we are decidedly different. When you start a guided self-practice at YogaPoser, the teacher will do an initial interview to find out about you, what you want, what your experience is and where you’d like to go. Then, using the traditional Ashtanga system of sequencing as a guide, we work with you to set up a regular practice that is uniquely yours and that can be altered at any time to suit your changing life and needs. You will get highly individualized attention for as long as you need it. Like an in-class private, guided self-practice is a potent, more authentic form of practice for all levels. This practice works best when it is done frequently. Start where you are, even if that is only once per week, but know that we recommend that you undertake the practice if you are willing to try to increase your frequency over time so that you are practicing 5-6 times per week to maximize benefits.