32 Suggestions: How to Start an Ashtanga Yoga Practice

"I cant tell you how many people I know that won't do yoga primary because they are intimidated. I look forward to your post for beginners..." said Anonymous yesterday and brought a sprout of inspiration.  

"Intimidating" I suppose, is the key word. It can be.

Back when I started I did not dare go to a half-led class or a Mysore-style class until I "thought" I "knew" at least half of the series.  I felt embarrassed, out of place even. But if I was starting all over again I wish I had a place with suggestions.  So I wrote this article, and I wrote a book! -left-.

I am aware there maybe a lot of other resources, pointers, suggestions, and that there are many ashtangis reading this, so please, if you feel you can contribute towards a person starting out that wants to do "ashtanga" -we will narrow it to just ashtanga for the purposes of this post-, then go ahead and add to the comments. There is a readership eager to hear your suggestions.

1.- Do Your Practice, All is Coming

Know that Ashtanga is a life-time process not a "get rich quick" thing.  Far from it, so it is good to take it one thing at the time. And that includes this post, you might want to print it and read it over days if not months.

After asana practice with Sharath on
his recent NYC tour
"Asana" is the practice of the poses of yoga. Start that practice, get on the mat, do what you can, get used to it. It might be only two or three times a week in the beginning. That is fine, most of us started that way and it takes a lot to commit to a daily routine.

I find that the daily practice (as in getting on the mat 6x-week) "happens" as we begin to notice the benefits of the practice and prefer them over our own old routines. We notice that we "feel better" on the days we practice and "not so good" on the days we do not and start to re-arranging our lives so that practice can take place. So do not worry, get on the mat, let all the rest come.

There is no need to push and get hurt, it is important to put the practice in front of the desire to rush, or "get" anywhere. After all there is no progress in being injured.

2.- Focus on just the Asana Practice

At least in the beginning.   "The practice starts with asana because it is a strong body that will focus our mind and end the delusions", said Sharath Jois -I'm paraphrasing- in a recent NYC conference, that is why the emphasis is completely on surrendering to, and achieving a daily pose -asana- practice.

The two branches that come before "asana", yama and niyama(or the observances of private and public actions)  are difficult to master. So in the beginning you just think of "being ethical" as in telling the truth, not stealing, becoming a good person.  A strong body and clear mind are needed to discriminate to an extent in which we might be able to reach these limbs of yoga, and be of good use to society.  We start with asana practice, and to pay attention to our daily actions, all comes.

3.- It is a Breathing Practice

Make the breath the "first priority", slow down and even take extras if you have to, just make sure to breathe deeply.  When you think you are breathing deeply, think deeper.

The breathing is done in a very specific way called: "ujjayi breath".  It is best to learn the breathing from a teacher, or at least hear someone do it.  What happens is that we contract the glottis so that the air is inhaled and exhaled in a much more ccontrolled and slow way, there is also a sound associated with it -think Darth Vader of Star Wars-.

I was just talking to someone who just started practicing and was reminded of how in the beginning it is OK to add extra breaths, and aim to get the "flow" of the sequence right.  Meaning, for example: on the very first sun salutation, inhaling with ujjayi breathing as we raise the arms up and look up, then exhaling as we fold down and place the hands on the floor.  Which brings me to the "hands on the floor", they may not quite go there at the start, and it is OK to give them time, but never push or force.

4.- Learning the Primary Series slowly is a good way to begin.

Warrior pose in the standing sequence
has a lot more into it than meets the eye
and is fun. Explore and enjoy!

The Primary Series is called Yoga Teraphy -Chikitsa- for this reason, because it slowly sends air to parts of our body where it never reached before, it tones the body, and makes use of muscles we had no idea we had.

Uttita Hasta, good to learn that name
pronto!
When I first started practicing a studio in the area offered "Half-Primary Led Classes", if you can find these, and the teacher "clicks with you", then you are in luck, as these are short versions, not too daunting -usually going to Navasana-, and even then you may need to stop before the twists (Marichasanas).  That is OK, you would learn the count.



5.- Bandhas.  
Bandhas are internal locks and the most important one is the mulabandha or root chakra lock.  This is done by contracting the area of the perineum.  Pattabhi Jois was known for saying that you should actually contract this area of the body all day long, not just during practice.

Bandhas are used to prevent leaks of energy.  When we lock the root portion of the body we ensure that the base of our energy is active and connected.  There is a second Bandha called "Uddyana badha" in the area of the navel.  The idea is that once the energy is harnessed from the root it is sent upwards.

I would not worry too much about bandhas other than to keep remembering whenever possible to engage the root bandha, to "tighten your anus", that famous expression that made ashtanga famous.

5.- Dhristi

Krishnamachrya used to walk looking
down all the time to not get distracted,
I have yet to learn that skill.
Is the focus point, and each pose has one, either we look at the hand or the left or the right or the nose (alongside the nose) etc.  Your teacher will point to you which way to look.  Do not worry too much in the beginning, just be aware of it.  Slowly it will all come together like the pieces of a puzzle, and over years of practice.

6.- Tristasana

Eventually, with a lot of practice it all comes together and the poses, the breathing and the drishti  happen. That is Tristasana which means all three aspects are coming together, then a meditative state is induced even as we practice asana.  It could take years for this to happen.

When someone asked Sharath how come "bandha" was not included in Tristasana he repeated what Pattabhi Jois said, that bandha should be "on" or "engaged" all day long.

7.- Get Comfortable Sweating

If the breathing is done correctly, then the sweating will break pretty soon unless you are practicing in a very cold area of the planet.  If you do not sweat at all then it is likely you are not breathing and pushing yourself towards your "edge" in every asana and vinyasa (movements and breathings done to get into and out of each asana).  If you are sweating too much you may be over-exerting, which brings me to...

8.- The Issue of Finding a teacher

This might be the most challenging part of having your practice stick.  An experienced teacher has done his or her practice for many years and hence knows not only the counts, the proper breathing, the right alignment, but also the energetics of the pose.

If you are lucky enough to have studios in your area visit them and ask them for a "trial membership". Make sure the ashtanga teacher will be in the room on those days (as many teachers travel quite a bit, visit Mysore etc).  See what your gut feeling is about the teacher, can you trust him? Does she talk to you?

If you can find a teacher that clicks with you, then consider yourself blessed, and try to stick to it.  Pretty soon you may find yourself wanting to go to Mysore, that is a great idea!, for more on that see the last 5 points.

Many people cannot practice alone, but some can, so if you cannot find a teacher there are still some other ways to get started.

List of authorized and certified ashtanga teachers from around the world: here.  It takes a while for new teachers to appear in the list, so check the listings of your local ashtanga studios.  It is not critical that a teacher be certified or authorized wither.  There are lots of teachers that follow Manju Jois -son of P.Jois- tradition and receive a different authorization so they many not be listed there, but still be very good teachers.

The resources below are directed towards those without access to a good teacher OR those who would like to build a little bit of a practice and sweat before hitting the studio. I know this might be the case as this was my case, I did not start attending led classes until I thought I knew half of the primary series.

9.- It is vital to keep a good sense of humor, about the whole thing.  Yes, that deserves a whole point on itself, that is how important it is.

10.- Read the 21 Things I wish someone told me before I started practicing Ashtanga Yoga.

For a laugh, for some info, for inspiration.  Also this post contains some useful pointers like "shower before and after", "studio etiquette", what to do in "ladies holidays" etc.

11.- Always shower before getting on the mat

Especially as you begin the practice, the purification will start releasing some toxins you did not even know you had inside.  You may smell in a way you are not used to, especially if you did not shower before.  Also, showering relaxes the body and prepares it for practice.  Pattabhi Jois said that it is important to shower afterwards too.

12.- Quotes that help keep us going
  • Anyone can practice yoga, old, young, sick, very old. Only one person cannot practice: the lazy!
  • No Coffee no prana - Sharath is very fond of sharing how he has been drinking a cup of coffee before practice every day since he can remember.  He says that is the only "preparation" he uses before getting on the mat
  • 99% practice 1% theory.  Yeap! as in: let's get on the mat!
  • Here are 32 unusual yoga quotes that jolt me back into center -not all from ashtanga though-
13.- How to learn the chants
Suggestions on DVDs to start practicing to
14.- Richard Freeman: Ashtanga Yoga Introduction, and also of course, The Primary Series.  Richard has been practicing yoga for over 40 years, and his principal teacher was Pattabhi Jois.  I have used his DVD on the Primary Series.  He mostly goes through the count and explains a few things here and there.  It is useful.

"Turning ON the lights of the pose
in Prasaritta Padotanassana A"
For example, on Prasarita Padotanasana A he says "turn on the lights of the pose" and I always remember that metaphor when I get into the pose.


15.- Kino MacGregor Introduction to Ashtanga:   The good thing about this DVD is that it includes a talk on breathing (by Tim Feldmann) and one on the philosophy side (by Greg Nardi). And then of course there is Kino and Greg going through primary with modifications up to Janu A.  See my review here.

She also has a CD with the full primary series.

16.- Mark Darby Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series DVD. This DVD means a lot to me because it is the one I started practicing to.  If you speak French, this is the one to get, as you can have it play in English or An Francaise... oui.

Specifically I like that Mark does the primary series at a very "advanced leve", you know? like he can hold his leg really straight an up in Uttita Hasta Padangustasana, while Nicole (the assistant teacher who speaks French) does the "modifications".

Here is a video where on 0:52 you can see me try to get that leg high and straight, but it is not quite as good as Darby's , guess I need about 20 years more of practice! ;-)


On those early days of my own practice, I remember how relieved I was when the DVD  got to the laying down.  It is quite a long practice, but remember to do it up until where you can.  It does get easier with time!

More:
  • Sharath Jois has a few DVDs of the Primary Series. In my opinion they are great because he does not talk at all, rather he just sticks to the count, and should you ever visit Mysore this is what a led class would look like.  Only thing is, Sharath is very advanced, he goes a little on the fast side, and there are no modifications.  Is good to have but perhaps not so much to start with.
  • Sri K Pattabhi Jois leading the primary and intermediate series in 1993 in Los Angeles.
  • David Garrigues an introduction to the primary series DVD.  He also has explanations on top of the counts, and you can either buy it from Amazon, or RENT IT!, that is new...
  • Daydreamingmel, a blogger and reader, suggested the DVD by Basia Lipska, which is in English and Polish!, how cool is that?  I have not seen it but my understanding is that it goes through the primary series and has modifications.
  • Lino Miele, a very popular and senior teacher from Milan, also has a DVD on the primary series, I have not seen it and would welcome feedback and notes about it if you have.  Is it in Italian too?
  • Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series with Melanie Fawer.  Melanie is a certified teacher of KPJ.  I have not seen this DVD yet, have you?  The "Mysore style" part in the title makes me curious, I wonder if she does not lead the class, or how it is structured.
Just for fun:  DVDs to admire and kind of have your jaw drop
17.- On AnatomyDavid Keil Yoga DVDs on Anatomy.  I have not seen these DVDs yet, but have them on order and will be reviewing them soon.

Books to Read

Why so many?  Different books speak to different people and personalities.  It might be a good idea to get one or two and see how they feel.  I wrote a tiny bit about each one I know about.  For example, I have yet to read the Lino Miele one, which I have on order, so I have not even read some of them... remember this is to be investigated over a long period of time.


18.- Yoga Mala is the only book written by the guru of Ashtanga Yoga, Sri K.Pattabhi Jois

Yoga Mala means "A garland of Yoga".

This from the publisher: ... He outlines the ethical principles and philosophy underlying the discipline, explains important terms and concepts, and guides the reader through Asntahga's Sun Salutations and the subsequent primary sequence of forty two asanas, or poses, precisely describing how to execute each position and what benefits each provides..."


19. Guruji. A great book with stories from students of the Guru from the early stages, people who have been with him.

I love the stories that Saraswatti -his daughter- tells, for example when she remembers how the Guru would do demonstrations and he would go into kurmasana while he stood up on top of her for an hour!  not to be tried at home but definitelly a good read.

I also enjoyed the part when a student asked him why he would not teach him "meditation" and Guruji replied: "mad-attention".  Can certainly identify.


20.- Gregor Maehle's book is almost like a bible of ashtanga.

It not only contains the primary series with lovely images, full descriptions and anatomy discussions, it also talks to us about being careful and preventing injuries.

The critical thing about this book is that it also introduces the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which are not discussed at lenght on this pose as we are focusing on "starting with asana", but that eventually get to be on the radar of any practitioner.

Mahele has done his homework and read many of the sacred texts, he has a gift for bringing it all together in a frank, easy to understand way.


21.-David Swenson

This book from a devoted practitioner is a great read and it has photographs with modifications for each of the poses.

He also has a laminated card, which I used when I began to remember the poses.

A great resource.





22. John Scott was the book I used in the beginning.  Even though many things have changed in the primary series, and it continues to evolve, I find this a great resource








23.- Lino Miele.

I confess I have not read this book yet, but I read the story behind it when Lino talks about his relationship with Guruji in the book above.  So I am curious and I have it on order.











24. Richard Freeman


I find that Richard Freeman's The Mirror of Yoga is a book to wrestle with, read and re-read, there is a LOT of information there.






25.- Matthew Sweeney has this great resource in booklet form.  I love how you can see all the pictures of all the series -to fourth-.  It inspires me just to look at, and it is also a great detailed map of the vinyasas.












26.- Articles about Ashtanga Yoga abound and you can always follow me on Twitter, read the blog roll on the blog and also see other articles at ashtanga yoga dot com here

27.-Namarupa is a privately published magazine run by Eddie Stern -a senior teacher and certified student-, a very interesting read with great pictures.

Visiting Mysore


You may be curious after you start your practice about Msyore in South India.  If you are lucky you may have Sharath come on tour to a city near you, and that is an experience not to be missed.  Then, Mysore is really it, a place of wonder, another planet, and also a great treat to focus on your practice.


I find that it might be better to visit when your practice is "not so advanced" because you have less attachments to it.


Another good reason to visit is that the primary series tends to change from time to time and it is good to travel to the source and see where things are at.


IF YOU ARE GOING TO MYSORE SOON VISIT MYSOREPEDIA DOT COM a FREE GUIDE I created with all sorts of info on accomodations, yoga, food, internet, massage, swimming pools, chocolate, coffee, what to pack, how much it might cost etc.


28.- TAKE IT FROM A BEGINNER The first time James came with me he was almost a complete beginner. He had been practicing Ashtanga for only about 6 months, and felt a little out of sorts, so he wrote the post: I have been completely humiliated by yoga.

That post is very indicative of how one might feel on a first trip being a beginner, it is also funny and we can all relate, no matter what level.  As a matter of fact an advanced yogi who is about to start attending the led intermediate classes once told me she felt exactly like James, and that she would be writing a post on that.  So there! you get these feelings at every level.

29.- James also attended Sharath on tour in NYC with me and felt humiliated by yoga, again! -that title is a link, click on it to read- Here is that post if you need more laughs

30.- Tips to travel safe  when you finally book that plane ticket to Bangalore (or Mysore... who knows? they just opened an airport). Click on the title to see the article.

31.- Packing List.  Click on the title to see the article.

The Chai Shop, near the shala
in Mysore
32.- Guide to MysoreClick on the title to see the free guide and article.

Bonus: Here are 7 reasons why Ashtanga yoga is really not that hard... but rather the "hardness" is in the mind of the beholder.

By all means, if you do start a practice or have more questions, write to me.  You know I love hearing about it!

MORE:

See here for my photo album of the Sun Salutation A


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42 comments:

  1. THis should be the bible for someone starting ashtanga practice.

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  2. Claudia
    That was a very good collection of Pointers .
    The following are some of the pointers I would like to share :
    1) Ashtanga is a 1000 mile journey and not a 100 meter sprint and hence it is advisable to have a 10 year time frame to be really an adept Ashtanga Practitioner .
    2) Every practitioner must have a practice journal and note down their daily practice , what they did , how they felt etc .It is up to them to see whether they want this journal to be in the form of an open blog ( to receive inputs from others ) or keep it private either online or offline .
    3) As regards visits to Mysore - it is better they do this only to enhance their practice and not for the purpose of Certification . Those things should be the by products of a more committed practice .

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  3. Fantastic suggestions Claudia! I might post a link to this on my website for potential new students. :)

    ...a side note, I've had David's anatomy DVD's since they came out (he's my teacher so I had to buy right away right!) and they are amazing! They've been a great reference for me as both a student and as a teacher. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of them. :)

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  4. Krishna,

    great points. I was thinking as I read how I actually did not keep a journal and then noticed where I was reading your message. Guess I have, is called a blog. I also keep a journal but do not think of it as an ashtanga journal... it is a GREAT idea! as per point#1, think I mentioned it in the "its not a get rich quick", but it is important to emphazise, so yes.. good point and on 3, very true... :-)

    Christine, I am a fan of David because one day he took the time to actually answer a question I had, the one on nutation, the post is STILL on the most read list, which I do not manage but rather google/blogger posts in the blog on the top right depending on how many people read it. So I figure he is the kind of teacher that likes to add value to students. I cannot wait for the DVD either! :-) as per linking, link away! of course!

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  5. Awe...look at you go. I just saw your post :) I will read this tonight after my workout. I can't thank you enough.

    I'm so excited to read this when I get home. (I'll even take notes if I have to :) Now you've made me smile.

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  6. ^ I am the Anonymous that posted the other day - was that just yesterday? You are fast!

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  7. Hi Anonymous and anonymous that posted yesterday, -or perhaps you are both the same?- I am glad to have put a smile, and I sincerely hope this to be useful... and yes it was yesterday, I felt it was important, I appreciate the inspiration :-)

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  8. WOWOWOWOOWOW thank you for this!! very articulate, comprehensive, and detailed post. I will definitely refer this to anyone to has questions ab ashtanga! Thanks Claudia =)

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  9. Thank you Teeg, glad you liked it and will share, makes me happy when people can have all resources in one page! :-)

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  10. Thanks for your great tips. I think those are 33 though, because I believe 5 is listed twice :-)
    Besides this your post was very inspirational and came at a good time, thanks!

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  11. Stephen you are RIGHT, can't believe I did that, oh well... will leave it like that as I guess there is so much that we needed an extra #5

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  12. Ops, sorry meant to say Stephan, my bad

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  13. me again, just finding the time to read this while able to concentrate. You have a little typo, a repeat paragraph...number 4, was in number 3...would have told you privately but didn't see a way to do that. We are one in the same the only anonymous - I'll let you know when I get a name because I am contemplating a blog of my progress. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  14. Hi Claudia,
    I am starting tomorrow. I am anonymous from before, but I put together a little blog - I am now "yogaseed."

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  15. Yogaseed, you have me so VERY happy here!!! just commented on your first post and I cant wait to hear about your journey, will add you to the blogroll of course, to stay in touch, welcome to the yoga and blog journey!!! :-) May you be successful!

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  16. Claudia, i am practicing since a couple of months now, and i have a question which i hope you have some insights on: 5-30 hours after each practice my hamstrings hurt. Shall i then better rest the next day, or do you think it is not a problem to go on practicing the next day even thought i am sore? I would very much prefer to practice 5/6 days a week than only every other day. But then again, maybe i am going too fast? Thanks so much, Olivia

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  17. Olivia, hi, well, when a hamstring hurts it is a clear sign from the body that it needs attention, I would be VERY CAREFUL, and give it any rest it needs.

    What I do is try to distinguish and see if the pain is because I over-did it (which I tend to never do, I am lucky that way), or if it is because the muscle is getting used to new lenghts, it is having new experiences.

    The distinction is vERY important, if it is over done, if the pain is because something 'broke' so to speak, then rest is of the uttermost importance.

    If the pain is just a little discomfort then I would keep practicing, but ONLY TO THE EDGE, sort of work with it, see where it appears, breath into it, pay a LOT OF ATTENTION and NEVER EVER FORCE ANYTHING.

    Remember that you can always practice 5/6 days a week which is what you want, just work with the intensity, work with what you have, you are ont he right path!!! :-)

    Would love to hear how you do

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  18. Hi Claudia! I want to tell you how much I love your blog! Thank you for the time and effort you put into it! It's so inspiring!

    I have practiced yoga for almost as long as you have but I am fairly new to Ashtanga. In order to attend a led class I have to drive over an hour to the nearest studio so the majority of my practice has been at home by myself or with a DVD. Last month I attended a workshop taught by David Swenson and I'm very interested in attending more workshops/trainings. In the coming months Kino MacGregor, David Williams, and David Swenson will all be teaching within a few hours drive from me. I have even considered making arrangements to learn from Manju Jois if/when he visits Chicago. In your opinion, do you think it would be more helpful to my practice to choose one teacher and become their biggest fan ;) or learn from a variety of different teachers? I know all are wonderful teachers. Just wondered what your thoughts are. Thank you!

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  19. Well, I can only speak from my experience. I learned very different things from Manju than from Paul, or Greg, Christopher, John Campbell, Saraswathi, Sharath, Ramaswami. So I am all for trying with different workshops, I love workshops!

    Especially since you do not have a teacher that you can regularly go to... one hour drive is a loooooong drive...

    Maybe you are meant to be the Ashtanga teacher in your area ;-)

    In an ideal world I prefer to have what I already have. A main teacher (John Campbell in NYC) (fantastic), and Sharath (in Mysore when I go there yearly), and when possible take workshops.

    I am wanting to meet Kino in a workshop... we shall see if the universe opens the doors in that direction :-)

    Good luck!

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  20. I would also say...always remember...the body follows your breath...

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  21. Thank you for your thoughts, Claudia! An hour drive is a long drive! The studio offers Ashtanga classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5:30 which means arranging my schedule to leave work early in order be there on time. I can usually make it to one of those classes a week. I am currently about halfway into a 200hr-RYT program and would love to bring Ashtanga to my area. I really want to deepen my practice and I'm feeling a little frustrated on how to do that given the limited number of learning opportunities I have. There are lots of good workshops coming up so I will definitely take advantage of those. Thanks, again!

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  22. Hello! It's very interesting reading up on these blogs about the practice of yoga, but I need a little bit of help please. I'm just starting out yoga, and I plan on doing yoga 5-6 times a week (possibly following the almost ritualistic and spiritual schedule of every day other than Saturdays, Ladies holidays-which I'll find out what they are-, and new moon/full moons). I immediately chose Ashtanga as my yoga type, seeing as it sounds well rounded, will work up a sweat, and allow be to become more flexible/strong (my two current goals!). I was wondering: since I'm just starting out, should I go down your list of tips and start my training from there? If not, can you tell me how I should be starting my practice? I want to become fully committed to this art and hope to be a part of this great practice soon!

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  23. Rachel, thanks for your question. How exactly we start is a personal choice. If you want I can send you my book that has a lot of stories in it, email me at baticlau at gmail.

    I started by using Mark Darby's DVD, i liked the modifications and when I felt a little reassured I started taking half led classes in a studio near work. I was lucky that these classes existed and that NYC has about 10 Mysore programs going on every day.

    Where are you? Maybe there is a Mysore program near you? or a led class? or an ashtanga teacher?

    For me, the combination of DVD and teacher worked very well. Mostly cause I never forced anything and took my time.

    I hope you do great and would love to hear how you do! Stay in touch!

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  24. I actually live in Connecticut, so there's probably only one or two within a thirty minute drive from my house...yeah, not so great. I was just wondering if I should start by practicing asanas themselves or just dive straight into the Primary Series, which I believe is the easiest and beginner level. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I was also thinking about using a Manduka mat, probably a PRO mat. Good, yes?

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  25. Hi Rachel, yes maybe not fully ideal but at least they are not so far...

    I would start with Primary series, that is what I did, to where you can, slowly and get to the studio when possible for corrections, adjustments etc...

    as per the mat, the black manduka is what many ashtangis go by.

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  26. Thank you very much Claudia! I guess I'll get started! I'm off!

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  27. Hello Claudia,
    Thank you for the thorough post on starting an Astanga practice. Since becoming a teacher two years ago my own practice has become stagnated - mainly I practice to prepare to teach. As you may imagine my practice is not so much personal anymore. I very much want to bring it back - I am thinking about beginning an Astanga practice and could use all the help I can find. :)
    It is a commitment I want to be sure about before I begin. Also I am 48 yrs old - having faith that with dedication I can still progress.

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  28. Hi More Than... yes having faith and dedication is good. Recently I read from a teacher who pondered whether teaching was adding or taking from his practice, it is a very delicate balance! You may find ashtanga to be a great practice, I think especially fromt he point of view of someone who teaches, because of the daily routine of it, the habit creation part... Let me know how you do :-)

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  29. Hi Claudia, your blog is so incredibly informative! A real joy to read! 

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  30. thank you Lavinia! :-)

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  31. Hi Claudia, I bought your Kindle book last week and read it through. Thank you for the excellent guidance (and humour). I started with Ashtanga Yoga about 3 weeks ago. I am fortunate to have a yoga studio across the road from where I work and they have self practice from 6:30 to 8:30am every morning. I started with private 1-on-1 lessons and am now moving on to the self practice this week. You book has provided much useful instruction and I look forward to learning more through your blog.

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  32. Robert, that is great news! and yes you are lucky to have a studio so close! It is like it is meant for you. I appreciate you writing and letting me know the book was useful. Thank you. Hope you keep in touch!

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  33. Morthanjustahousewife, just noticed this comment today, sorry about the delay, thought I had reply... sometimes google does strange things...


    I understand what you say, becoming a teacher takes a lot of energy, and personal practice suffers...


    I happen to think that ashtanga is the best practice for a teacher because of the daily commitment and steady learning. I would agree with you on starting.


    I hope you are doing great!

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  34. Special
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  35. do you have any tips on how to stay focused?? I do fine in class, but at home it's a whole different story. Usually, as soon as I get halfway through the primary series i get too adhd to finish and end up lying around :/

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  36. Kelsley hi, great question i can totally identify with that. Best i can come up with is what you are already doing. Meaning notice. I know it does not sound like m much but it is the most effective way of changing anything, awareness is the beginning then we can work slowly on coming back. I will write a post onthis you give me good ideas :-)

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  37. Claudia, thank you for spreading your knowledge and experience. I am new to ahstanga and have praticed 2.5 years in mostly what was once anusara. You have answered so many of my questions and as well as presented enlightening info.

    Im going to get richard freeman dvds as suggested. Thank you again! Pam

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  38. thank you very much for this guidance. it is an immense help for the likes of me who has to practice on their own having no access to no ashtanga classes. We have only taken up yoga with my wife about two weeks ago but we feel an urge to go on with this. Namaste. :)

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