|Practice and all is coming. – K. Pattabhi Jois, Founder Ashtanga Yoga|
1. It’s a home practitioner’s dream. I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I love to go to a yoga class is that someone else tells me what to do—so I don’t have to think, I can just BE. The Ashtanga Primary Series gives me the same thing, and I can do it at home while my daughter naps and for FREE. I can also add in things I want to work on and skip stuff I’m not in the mood for without much extra brain power.
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2. Progress is inevitable and oh-so-obvious. When you’re practicing the same set of poses every single day, you might think it would get boring. (I know that’s what I used to think before I found myself addicted to the Primary Series.) But, after just a couple of weeks of practicing the series, I noticed I was getting better at the poses I found really difficult the first few times I did it–namely, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Head to Big Toe Pose). No side-by-side selfies necessary to SEE the progress, I could actually FEEL myself getting stronger.
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3. Follow your own breath—really! You know those vinyasa flow classes that claim you align your movements with your breath? It’s more like I’m aligning my breath and my movements with the teacher’s cues. I like that Ashtanga was designed to be practiced independently, so you really can follow your own breath and listen to your body’s cues.
4. There’s a plan. There’s enough chaos in my life—I don’t need more. So, I love that Ashtanga Yoga offers so many guidelines for the practice. shoot for practicing six days a week. Always practice the postures in a certain order. Hold poses for 5 breaths. Master the Primary Series before moving on. Don’t practice on a full moon or new moon. It makes me feel all safe and secure knowing that there’s always room to accommodate for growth, and even though I almost always fall short of the recommendations—I usually only get to practice 4 days a week right now and, as I’ve mentioned, sometimes I stray from the sequence—I love knowing I’ll always have a structure to fall back on whenever I need it.
5. It’s a workout. Obviously, yoga is much more than a fitness routine. But there’s nothing wrong using your asana (the physical poses) practice to help you stay in shape physically as well as mentally and emotionally. I love that when I’ve practiced the Primary Series, I feel like I really worked my body. It lets me move, stretch, breathe, and work up a sweat so when I’m ready for Savasana (Final Resting Pose), I feel the most amazing release and a calm washes over my body.