The Truth about Ashtanga Yoga
9 November 2018 by Quinn Taplin
I often hear students say that Ashtanga Yoga is the real yoga. That they can practice at their own pace, following their own breath where the teacher and his/her assistants can genuinely support you in this current moment. Ashtanga Yoga requires commitment and the teachers are of the most committed. Waking up at 330am to practice before class and often sacrificing for a shorter practice to support their students. Students are encouraged to practice based on how they feel and to move from there; without mirrors and the glamorous hip hop music.
How can you listen to yourself with all those distractions anyway?!
Ashtanga teaches you to move slowly yet progressively through each sleepy corner of your body broadening your awareness with all new sensations. This system of practice breeds dedicated students. Not because we are type A personalities with a gymnastic, acrobatic or military background, but because we know that life is a gift and seeking truth through pealing back the layers of the past and undoing ourselves is as real as it’s ever going to get. Even if that means the darkness is more present in our lives than we thought.
Look to your left, to your right – all those practicing beside you are there for you. Breathing with you. This is a community of truth seekers, artists, philosophers and evolutionists. No one cares whether you can touch your toes or put your leg behind your head. This is a breathing practice, not a circus. A living practice of life, not a lifestyle. The very heart of yoga practice lies within abyhasa, which is a steady effort in the direction you are going. True yoga is about how you shape your life, not how your asana is performed. Yoga cares about the person you are becoming and it is this essence that must be embodied. Too often people say “Ashtanga is intimidating” … don’t worry, it’s just the real yoga and this practice will be happy to check your ego.