ASHTANGA GUIDED CLASSES
At AYP we are committed to teaching Ashtanga in a safe and intelligent manner, giving special focus to anatomical alignment in the poses as well as the foundations of an Ashtanga practice: ujjayi (special breathing technique to regulate the breath and calm the nervous system), bandhas (internal contractions to keep the body strong and controlled) and drishti (points of focus to keep the mind concentrated and inwards). These are the aspects that make this physical practice be highly self-transformational and not merely ‘a good workout’. Of course, all the benefits of a good workout are attained but with yoga we get even more than that!
ASHTANGA, PRIMARY SERIES (1.5 hrs)
In addition to the beginner Ashtanga classes (for anyone new to the Ashtanga system), we have 3 more levels teaching the Primary Series. If you work through them with patience and kind attention, you are certain to succeed.
ASHTANGA LEVEL 1
In this class the sun salutations and the standing poses will be talked through at a fairly steady pace. It is assumed that the students are already familiar with that part of the sequence, therefore it is not a class for complete beginners to the Ashtanga system.
The class is one hour and a half to give time for the teacher to introduce how to do sitting forward bends in a safe way for the back and hamstrings. The poses will be taught in the traditional order up until one of the Janu Sirsasana variations (A, B or C).
The class will finish with back bending and the sitting finishing sequence before final relaxation.
ASHTANGA LEVEL 2
In this level, we move fluidly through all the poses up until the Janu Sirsasanas and then give details on how to enter the following poses up until maximum Navasana. We then move to back bending and its counter pose.
This is the level we introduce the shoulder stand sequence. One must have developed enough strength, awareness and flexibility to do the inversions in a way that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system while keeping the neck secure.
Modifications will be given to respect the needs of each and every body.
ASHTANGA LEVEL 3
In this class the teacher leads the students through almost the entire the primary series at a steady count. Only giving extra detail on poses after Navasana; this part of the series is often called ‘the road block’, due to the difficulty of the poses.
It is a challenging class and not for those new to Ashtanga.
The entire finishing sequence will be practiced, including back bending, the shoulder stand sequence and the headstand.
ASHTANGA 1-2 & 2-3
These are classes mixing the levels as described above.
FULL PRIMARY SERIES (1.5hrs & 2 hrs)
This is a traditional led primary class, the focus is on the series as a whole with emphasis given to the vinyasa, the fluidity of movement and the connection of breath within the various postures. It is a class that is challenging, as the students are asked to respect the flow of the class, to know how to take care of their own bodies within the poses and very little detailed instruction is given. It is not a class for beginners although, if the student is familiar with part of the primary series they are welcome to join. The yoga student will stop at the pose they normally stop at and wait in child’s pose or sitting meditation then resume the class from back bending.
The teacher reserves the right to ask a practitioner to stop and wait if they feel the practitioner is not practicing in a controlled and harmless manner.
Great for those students who have experience of Ashtanga yoga and know the postures. It is also a good class to refine and help memorize the vinyasa between positions and the techniques for getting in and out of the positions. Lastly it is recommended for those who practice Mysore style – as the students are asked to respect the flow of the class, we can practice to control our ego.