Ashtanga Yoga For Everyone
Over the last few weeks, I have had the pleasure of subbing for some “soft” yoga classes. The students in these classes are some of the most diverse I’ve encountered while teaching. Old, injured, disabled, obese, you name it. This is not the crowd most people think of when they picture a yoga class…especially not an Ashtanga yoga class!
It has been both enlightening and reaffirming to share the practice with these inspiring people. You see, Ashtanga gets a bad rap for being too hard and only appropriate for athletic types. While it can indeed be incredibly demanding, that’s not *all* it is. Not by a long shot. This practice is about stilling the mind and rooting out what no longer serves us. Plain and simple.
Here’s the proof. I taught a class last week full of people too weak to do downward facing dog. They couldn't hold their body weight in that position for even one breath, but we were still doing Ashtanga yoga. The postures were modified heavily and the pace was slowed substantially, but that doesn’t matter one bit because these amazing people were breathing, gazing, and moving in and out of postures. It was beautiful!
If you’ve ever been interested in Ashtanga yoga, or any yoga for that matter, but have been afraid of the difficulty, keep trying until you find a teacher who can work with you. Yoga is meant for everyone, not just the flexible and strong. This practice has so much to offer no matter your body type! Your physical ability has no bearing on your capacity for this practice. As Pattabhi Jois said, “Indeed, anyone - men and women of all ages, sick or weak, can practice yoga."
Take your practice!