8 Reasons why I chose to practice Ashtanga (and continue to do so)

I will never preach, or try to convince anyone of anything, but I can tell you "some" of the reasons why I came into Ashtanga. Why it has worked for me and how it continues to work.

Picture is from the wonderful yoga magazine Namarupa

1-Regularity and no mind
It is practiced every day, six times a week, (no Saturdays, and no full moon or new moon), no questions asked, no excuses. I liked this because it gave me a tremendous sense of discipline, and a focus for the day. There is also a great feeling in knowing that you have "accomplished something" and it is not even 9 AM.

2-I like to travel  
The practice is portable. Whenever I land anywhere, primary series is the first thing I do, and I don't need a teacher (unless I want to go to a studio).  Primary series re-aligns me, and helps in easing the jet-lag symptoms.

3-Weight release happens
The practice revealed to me how out of shape I was, quickly, and corrected it quickly.  Primary series helped me in releasing 30 pounds and becoming leaner within the first year of practice. As a friend puts it: it restored my body to its original blue print.  

4-More than a workout
The Primary series shattered the belief I had that yoga was: “easy and calm” and "not really a workout". Really? with a fixed set of over 30 poses and no no way to just “skip” some, and at a minimum of 1.5 hours practice daily there was nothing easy or calm about it. The system is determined. We surrender, practice, and learn about patience and discipline.

5-It is not just a pretty face
This one is a confession. When I started practicing I wanted to look good, and I noticed that most of the people (about 90%) who practice the poses of ashtanga look really good. Their bodies seem evenly proportioned, their muscles toned but nothing stands out in a grotesque way, it is all very elegant.
However, regular practice revealed to me a much deeper sense of what yoga means, not just physically but also mentally, and spiritually.

"Do your practice and all is coming" said Pattabhi Jois, and is true.  It is a proven system, ask anyone who has been practicing it for over a few years and you will see how much they love it, and how their lives have been transformed, most likely for the better.

7-It's a challenge
The series (6 in total so far) increase in difficulty. Pattabi Jois is known to have told students that the primary is the most important, the other ones are good, but the first one is the most important one.

The primary series is called Yoga Cicitsa, and it means the yoga of purification. It is a good place to start.   The journey overall is so long-six series!- that surrendering to the life-long process becomes a given.

A street in Mysore near the Shala
8-You go down the rabbit hole
At some point it happens, maybe we visit Mysore or maybe we come across a very good teacher that encourages scripture reading, and we read the yoga sutras, or the Gita, or the Upanishads, and all of a sudden we find ourselves in a whole new world, where the possibilities opened by yoga go far deeper than we ever dreamed of.

Coincidences start to happen, we begin to be in the right place at the right time, life becomes a thread of well-being, and we find ourselves on the path to peace and happiness, curious about all limbs (branches of yoga) and deeply immersed in a practice of health and abundance.


  1. I'm going to write a post about how I lost no weight at all doing a regular yoga practice (Iyengar/Ashtanga mix.)

    I keep reading all these posts about "yoga helped me release all my excess weight" and I wonder what is wrong with my body. It's not releasing any excess weight. It's growing muscle and becoming stronger and more flexible but not one pound of the 30 or so "extra" I lug around has dropped.

    It's interesting more than anything.

  2. @ Grumpy Yogi, thanks. I had not come across your blog before, will add you to the blog list and check it out :-)

    @ Laine, I read your post and found it inspiring, I respect that you list your reasons and say that you are OK with that. I am sure there is nothing wrong with your body. I appreciate your point of view being different. In my case please note that I do not attribute the release only to yoga-asana, there were lots of other factors that I listed in the post of how that happened.

  3. Love love this post!

    I also recently did a post on why I love Ashtanga!

    It really is the best :)

  4. Hi, thanks fidningmyunicorn, I actually just saw your post, great one (http://findingmyunicorn.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/why-i-love-ashtanga-yoga/)

    It really has a lot going for it, it rewards me every day :-)

  5. Hey :) This sums up everything I think I may have thought of felt, but so beautifully cohesive, succint, and just, lovely writing. Thank you :) xx

  6. Love this post! It's very well written :)

    I have to say that I didn't lose any weight though - I put on weight! I was a skinny little weakling before, and now I have muscles! I never thought I'd ever be able to do a push up before and now I pump them out every morning during practice, haha.

  7. Rebecca, thank you

    Mrs G, yes I have noticed that a few people add muscle and so the weight tends to stay the same, only the body is more muscular and in shape. I also am amazed at things I can do now which I would have not dreamed of a couple of years back, the element of "surprise" in this sense might even be another one!


  8. These are fantastic reasons and I whole-heartedly agree with them, but the one that really resonates with me is #8. I have become more interested in the spiritual aspect of the practice, and coincidences are happening right now in my life, presenting opportunities that, a few months ago, I was wistful about. Whether it's a mere coincidence or a part of the Universe's plans for me, the regular practice has instilled a level of gratitude and contentment that I didn't have before, and this is how it has changed my life. So far, at least :)

  9. I love your passion for Ashtanga, and I'd agree with each and every reason. Great post. Thanks so much for writing it.

  10. Mollie, thank you for your comment! I really like your Manga blog

    Danielle, I completely relate to what you say, it is amazing how things begin to fall into place, how the "all" starts to come...

    thanks Anonymous!

  11. i know i am late but just read this - i agree with you - all this resonates with me as well. i would also add the lineage/ tradition. ivana x

  12. Never late Ivana, I appreciate it... and you are right the lineage is not something I was thinking about back when I wrote this but it definitelly makes the list today :-)


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