Some Truth About Ashtanga Yoga

By: Jessica Lynne Trese (Moore)

Sometimes Ashtanga Yoga can get a bad reputation in the yoga community. It’s called the ‘fitness yoga’ and all the students are closed-minded because they practice the same ‘routine’ everyday. And Ashtangis are known for being a little over the top with our adherence to ‘the rules of Ashtanga.’

Is Ashtanga Yoga ‘fitness yoga?’

No, not the way most people think of fitness routines. Our asana practice (postures) is meant to heat up the body, to cleanse, purify and enliven the physical body from the inside out.

A more fitting description would be ‘body healing yoga’ because we find balance, ease and health throughout the physical body from the physical asana practice.

Are we closed-minded because we practice the same ‘routine’ everyday?

Not even close! We open our minds, and hearts up to the subtle nuances of in-depth study. Ashtanga Yoga is used as a tool to turn inward and by taking the same ‘route’ inward each day we can start to notice the more subtle changes in the body. We can start to notice the more subtle changes in our hearts.

Taking a different route inward everyday you can miss the subtle changes in YOU!

Are we over the top in following ‘the rules of Ashtanga’?

Not really. Yes, there are some rules/guidelines that we stick to. Ashtanga Yoga is a tool for Self-transformation, and the rules/guidelines show us how to use this tool.

Simply by surrendering to the ‘rules’ of Ashtanga Yoga our transformation begins. The ‘rules’ show us what to do and when we let the mind surrender to this method, it can finally rest and stop trying to control every single thing. Then we can start to truly experience the present moment; the moment is no longer colored by the mind’s wish to have it be something else.  Presence and stillness can reside within the mind.

All those who practice the Ashtanga Yoga method for a long time, without break and with devotion have experienced the way the practice allows the light in our hearts to shine. Illuminating the present moment with acceptance, peace, gratitude and joy.

And the most amazing part of this practice is the Ashtanga Yoga Community. Our community spans the globe, and no matter how far one of us travels, if we find another Ashtanga student, we will have found a piece of our heart. Even if we don’t speak the same language, we can speak to each other through the language of our practice. A global community of people, each one dedicated to working on being the best version of their own Self as possible.


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