Ashtanga led primary series
Thursdays 5:45 – 7:15 p.m. (beginning July 11, 2013)
Hilltop Yoga’s Old Town studio
We flow through the entire Ashtanga primary series in a way that accommodates all experience levels. Students who have a strong practice will be able to flow through the entire series while receiving individual help in postures and transitions they may be challenged by. Students new to the practice are welcome in this class, since Hilltop Yoga classes are all-level unless otherwise indicated. Different expressions of poses may be offered to students brand new to Ashtanga who attend this class, to help them become more familiar with the practice.
Level 2 yoga (vinyasa flow)
Mondays 5:30-6:45 p.m.
Michigan Athletic Club
The MAC has a dedicated yoga studio, which makes practicing yoga here a little different than practicing yoga in many gym environments. This 75-minute class is based on a vinyasa-flow style of yoga, which means every breath is connected to a movement but the sequence changes every week (in contrast to an Ashtanga primary series class). This class is designed for students with experience in yoga, although students new to yoga who do not have extenuating health considerations are allowed to try the class. If you are new to yoga or if you have specific health issues that would make a slower class more enjoyable, you are encouraged to take a level 1 class at the MAC prior to joining this one.
I am available for private instruction in the greater Lansing area. The easiest way is probably to contact me directly by emailing ashtangayogarose [at] gmail.com.
I probably practiced yoga for 10 years before I took my first private yoga lesson. Since then, private sessions have been invaluable to my practice — they’re great ways to work out issues you don’t have time to explore during classes.
As for the expense . . . I hear you! We all have a ton of expenses, so I understand the typical hesitation for a $60 or $75 session. There are times when that’s simply not feasible, so we’ll work on your issues as much as we can during our weekly classes. But if you have a little financial wiggle room, what I can say is that just one or two private sessions can really go a long way.
What’s the difference between Ashtanga, power and vinyasa classes?
Great question because it can be really confusing, especially if you’re new. I’ve devoted a blog post to answering this question.
I’ve never done yoga but I’m interested. Does that mean I will have to be able to stand on my head ?
Absolutely not! As a gross generalization, I think yoga teachers tend to be guilty of saying that yoga is not about bending your body into a pretzel and then showing photos of themselves with bodies bent like pretzels (clearly, this photo indicts me as well). Yoga is as much about breath as it is about the body. I like to say that in yoga, we use the body to get beyond the body — we use the body to get to the mind and the spirit. A person with tight everything — tight hips, tight hams, tight shoulders — is being more faithful to the practice if they take it slow and focus on their breath and presence on the mat than someone with a super bendy body flying through a yoga class as if they wanted to audition for Cirque du Soleil. That said, the reason I think why yoga teachers like to take photos in particular types of poses — especially, I think, arm balances and backbends — is that one thing you learn, the more you do yoga, is that often what we think is about the body is really about the mind. Yes, it takes opening and lengthening the quads to be able to get into the state of a certain pose. But often, the true obstacle, once the body is ready, is that the mind is not ready. We tell ourselves we can’t, or we’re simply not built that way, etc.
When can I try Ashtanga second series?
Every Ashtanga teacher will have a slightly different answer on this. In the very traditional Mysore (individual instruction, self-paced) method, it’s not really up to you — it’s up to your teacher. You don’t move on to the next Ashtanga primary series posture until your teacher authorizes you to, and you certainly don’t move to second series until you’re ready. For studios such as Hilltop that in spirit honor the Mysore method but offer only led, rather than Mysore, classes, it may not be as clear-cut.
Here’s my opinion: You should not move on to trying Ashtanga second series until you have a very solid Ashtanga primary series practice. One example: If I ask you how your kurmasana posture currently feels to you and you can’t remember which posture that is, I will tell you’re not ready for second series — plain and simple. On the other hand, if you have a strong practice because you do primary series a few times a week and the main catch is that you can’t get in to the bind in marichyasana D without assistance, I would probably say you’re ready to try second series.
Finally, even when you are ready to try Ashtanga second series, don’t ever let go of primary series. Primary series if the foundational practice — the one you do for the rest of your life, no matter what advanced Ashtanga series you’re currently learning.
Classes aren’t enough. What else can I do?
I love it when people say this. Check the workshops section for great workshops coming to the region. Think of it as one-tank trips for yoga bliss. Check out the Ashtanga Yoga + Social Media Grid to keep exploring via digital trips.
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