At AYP we are committed to teaching ashtanga from the foundation up, therefore we have designed 4 levels of ashtanga classes. Starting with a beginner class (which is one hour) we teach the fundamental principles of ashtanga and break down the different elements of the sun salutations. We find the essence of every single ashtanga pose within the sun salutations therefore, if this is taught with awareness from the beginning, the yoga practitioner develops a strong foundation to build upon over the months and years of practice to come.
After the sun salutations, the whole sequence of standing poses is taught. This is the most important part of the ashtanga yoga system. They give us strength and endurance in the body, which allows us the freedom to find flexibility from a place of stability.
All the classes end with sitting poses to concentrate on the breath and cool the body before final relaxation lying on the back.
We also encourage the yoga practitioner to listen and connect with their body and we give different modifications to make the practice suitable for the individual. Again, this will give you the skills to grow and develop within the ashtanga model.
Beginner classes are great for those new to Ashtanga as well as those wishing to refresh the basics or return to practice after a break.
How many classes one will need to take before moving on is completely individual. Once one feels they have achieved a certain capability to follow the class without feeling rushed or out of breath and can follow the most important alignment cues it is probably time to move on. If you are unsure just ask a teacher to keep an eye on you during the class and tell you after class if he/she thinks you can approach the next level.
To go further, you can continue with the next level of guided classes (Ashtanga 1, Vinyasa 1) or start transitioning towards Mysore practice.