Ashtanga at its Best
I’ve been praticing Yoga for almost a year now and I know that I have yet to discover my style of Yoga. I still consider myself a beginner, of course, but I know that I’m slowly learning and perfecting every pose. I started last December 2008 with Bikram Yoga Eastwood, then due to convenience, I transferred to Vinyasa Yoga Center since it was near work. I also did yoga in Gold’s Gym Galeria, since it was also available there.
About 2 month ago, while I was surfing the net for other styles, I came across Yoga Manila’s site. Glancing on each of the profile of the teachers, I was impressed by the training each one had undergone. I was also curious to find out more about the classes they were offering. The site mentioned that it was Ashtanga they were teaching. Hurray for me since I was looking for other styles of yoga!
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
“Ashtau” means eight and “anga” means limbs or stages; therefore, Ashtanga means “eight limbs”. Vinyasa is a movement breathing system—breath movement synchronicity. I think I discussed that in my other post. Like dance, when it is taught to a dancer, it is taught in a series of counts that you have to learn before moving on to the next set of counts. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is also taught in a sequence, which is repeated every practice. As Yoga Manila puts it, “the aim of the practice is to offer development and awareness of the self (“side effects” being a stronger, more flexible, toned, healthier body, are why most people are initially drawn to this practice)”.
You will also hear these terms when you practice Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga:
Mysore is a city in the south of India where Ashtanga yoga has been taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois since the 1930’s. This traditional style of Mysore has students learn postures in a fixed order using a special movement-breathing technique called vinyasa. The vinyasa links the postures together in the dance of the breath. Beginners start with the first few poses and gradually, the teacher or guru adds postures to learn every class. The advanced students can go ahead and do the postures while the teacher supervises.
In Led classes, everyone moves at the same time. The teacher is the one who dictates the counts and poses. It will be hard for beginners since they will have to know the poses for them to be able to follow.
One Monday evening, around 6:00pm, I had the guts to go by myself to the 5th floor of Chi Spa, the Spa of Edsa Shangri-La. The ambiance was very nice (of course, it was a hotel’s spa). When I got there, there were two more students waiting for the 6:30 pm class. One was a beginner like me and the other student practiced in Yoga Manila for almost a year now. I asked the latter on what were we supposed to do. She told me to talk to Jon Cagas (the teacher). He was inside the room doing a head stand, and I was hesitant to bother him. After a few minutes though, I guess he noticed us and he gave us a little paper with a chant, and a book to read. The book was by John Scott (I had no idea of who he was at that time), which I later on bought in National Bookstore for my own practice.
During the first session, Jon taught us two series of poses (Sun salutation a and b or Surya Namaskar a and b). We just kept on repeating it over and over again. Honestly, i got bored during the first session, but then I realized that this series had a lot of benefits. First of all, you should be able to perfect this series before you proceed to the other poses, which are harder. Also, it relaxes you and helps you meditate and focus on your breathing. Another thing is that it warms up your body so that you can avoid injuries.
I like doing Ashtanga Vinyasa. Although, sometimes, I hate memorizing. But if you do it regularly, the movements will become second nature already. I actually practice sometimes at home since the poses need to be practiced.
For Yoga fanatics out there, do try Yoga Manila, and become hooked to it as I am. :)
SMS : +63917.522.YOGA(9642)
Landline : (02)216-6314
Greenbelt Mansion, Unit 506, Perea St, Legaspi Village, Makati City
Chi Spa, EDSA Shangri-la, Manila, 01 Gardenway, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City
405 Bougainvilla corner Sanggumay, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City