October 5, 2011

First Ashtanga Class

Yesterday evening I took my first Ashtanga class at Ashtanga Yoga VictoriaI absolutely loved it.  

The yoga studio is in market square, part of Old Town in Victoria.  The ceilings in the studio are very high, the floors are wood, the light is soft, there are tall windows and a small alter at the front of the room.

I arrived a few minutes early and was told to just go into the practice room and lay down on my mat, even while the Mysore class was still going on.  It was interesting to be able to observe other people practicing their own yoga in a room with other people, also going through their own individual practices.  All the students were at different levels and there were two teachers in the room giving direction and helping with corrections.

At 6 o'clock, Harmony, the owner and instructor, asked us (me just and one other girl) to move our mats to the front of the room and the students in the Mysore class slowly moved their mats to the back of the room so they could finish their Savasanas.  The fluidity of movement between the start of one class and the end of another seemed to have no beginning and ending.  Yoga seemed endless to me at that moment.

We were first guided through Surya Namaskr A.  We were instructed when to inhale and exhale and which movements to move through.  We were guided through this twice and then did three repetitions on our own.  Surya Namaskr B came next and again we were guided through the first two repetitions and then did three on our own.  We then went through Surya Namakr A & B on our own (only 3 repetitions) with Harmony there to guide us and give us correction.  She then led us through the Basic SequenceAnd we repeated 1 repetition of Surya Namaskr A & B with the Basic Sequence, again, on our own.  Harmony, then, led us through a modified version of the Finishing SequenceAnd we finished with a very long relaxing Savasana.

I left class feeling incredible, energized and calm.

I don't want to go about comparing Bikram yoga and Ashtanga yoga in this post but I'll tell you what I appreciated about a different practice.
  • I liked the hands on corrections.  To have a teacher lift my hips up or press the palms of my hands into the floor was very useful to me.
  • I loved the dim lighting and the teacher's calm voice.
  • There were photographs of Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S Iyengar together because they were both students of Krishnamacharya.  I found this fitting since I began my yoga journey practicing Iyengar yoga.
  • I like that the yoga has a specific sequence that you follow every time you practice.
  • I felt very welcome.
  • I love that I woke up this morning to sore hamstrings and shoulders.
  • I liked the attention to detail in each asana.  With each movement there is an inhale or exhale.
  • I started sweating.  My body is so accustomed to sweating that as soon as it starts to warm up it wants to cool me down.
  • Harmony sang Oms while we were in Savasana and then sang a mantra, which I forgot to ask her what it was called.  And then brought us out of Savasana by ringing a bell.  I loved this.
I hope to share more with you soon.


B.K.S. Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois.

1 comment:

Yolk E said...

Ahh, Ashtanga was my first love. Enjoy it. What a beautiful series!

Yeah, you will get the sore hamstrings in Ashtanga. I was such a gumby when I practiced!