Dynamic, energizing and rhythmic, Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a popular style of yoga compiled by Patabhi Jois as recently as the 20th century. Ashtanga Vinyasa strings together a series of asanas in a specific sequence and is practiced with Ujjayi breath. Practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa requires you to remember the asanas in the series, flow in a rhythmic style with breath as your cue.
For practitioners who have been more well-versed with different styles of yoga, trying your hand at Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga provides a variety, fluidity and creativity to your practice. Take it a notch higher with an Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher training and you’ll get nothing short of a wonderful exposure to a different form of yoga.
A STRONG FOUNDATION
Starting with a 200-hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training allows you to gain a strong foundation in the yoga poses involved. Patabhi Jois created six primary series as part of the Ashtanga Vinyasa series, with specific poses in each flow. However, today many teachers learn the foundational poses and create different flows to bring variety to a class. During the 200-hour Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher training course you will learn how to do all the foundational poses with the proper alignment, and how to adapt necessary modifications. Once this foundation is strong, practicing this as part of a Vinyasa sequence comes fairly naturally to you. As you learn to do each asana in the different series with strength and ease, adding asanas as transitional poses in other sequences comes effortlessly as well.
Similar to other styles, in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga also it is recommended to begin your practice with Surya Namaskars and warm-ups. Here, during a 200-hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training you will learn how to do the Ashtanga Surya Namaskars. Once you master these sequences and understand the core of the practice, you can easily mix it up to create your own flows.
Some programs, such as Sampoorna Yoga’s Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher training course, include modules where you learn Vinyasa flows and Ashtanga practices at the same time and can then teach Ashtanga Vinyasa classes.
STRENGTHEN YOUR NICHE
There are several schools and teachers out there offering different types of classes. Most do a certification in one style and begin their yoga teaching career. By doing an Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher training, and combining that with your existing Vinyasa experience, you will be able to set yourself apart. You can broaden your offerings, provide better cues, alignment and adjustments workshops, and speak from experience. Needless to say, this will all contribute towards your name as a yoga teacher.
CONNECTING WITH YOUR BREATH
When learning Ashtanga Vinyasa flows, you are also taught how to apply Ujjayi breath during the practice. You learn the importance of when to inhale in an asana and when to exhale. You also learn to practice with control and ease, flowing effortlessly with only breath as your guide. With every Ujjayi breath you inhale sufficient oxygen to re-energize your body and mind. You also become more mindful, inhaling into the abdomen completely, keeping your respiratory system healthy and improving lung capacity. Ujjayi breathing improves oxygen supply to the brain, while asanas improve blood circulation to every corner of the body. This improves overall functioning, releases stress, anxiety, sluggishness from organs, and improves digestive health. With time, you learn to connect more deeply with your breath, and how to use your breath as a guiding force.
STRUCTURING YOUR OWN PRACTICE
The flows in Ashtanga Vinyasa include preset poses. In the beginning you may find it difficult to remember the asanas or the sequence of the flow. You’ll work on them repeatedly, focusing on muscle groups or asanas that you find more challenging. With practice, remembering the sequences becomes effortless and you’ll progress from one pose to the next without much difficulty. This will help you cultivate awareness about your strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll learn to listen to your body. Moreover, you’ll also be able to practice on your own once you learn the different series. You’ll know the warm-ups, arm-strengthening drills or the hip-opening exercises you absolutely need to do before doing the sequences. And then it’s really about practicing the flows and getting better at how you do them. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from still joining a class to practice with a teacher (which is always better and more fun!) but you’ll have the confidence, knowledge and self-awareness to practice on your own too.
Even if you’re not intending to teach Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, doing a 200-hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training will give the foundational knowledge required to improve on a physical level.
If teaching, you won’t have to create numerous sequences or Vinyasa flows as these are already structured practices. These types of classes are more sustainable for you and you do not have to spend hours planning for sessions. Each series is explored in depth, with variations and modifications as necessary. This also ensures you are focusing more on students, their alignment and progress in each posture and sequence, rather than worrying about which asana comes next. By introducing new series one by one, you’ll find it adds variety and won’t be spending sleepless nights thinking of your class the next day! This helps avoid burnout and stress, with more time for you to practice and grow as well.
The benefits of Ashtanga Vinyasa are multifold. From releasing stress and anxiety, to improving strength and stamina, Ashtanga Vinyasa has a well-rounded, holistic impact on the mind and body. Most of all, the breath focus and usage of Ujjayi breath in the practice helps keep you energized. Practicing yoga asanas with control, while staying strong and centered, helps you progress better and faster. Given the free-flowing, fluid and creative nature of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, you’ll also find the practice invigorating and fun!
These are just a few benefits of how an Ashtanga yoga teacher training can be useful for Vinyasa practitioners. Above all, an Ashtanga yoga teacher training will open new doors to the world of yoga that will inspire you to progress on your yoga journey with zeal and dedication.