We had a sub teacher in yoga class today. She practices Ashtanga yoga. As I frequently talk to people who either ask me or want a recommendation for what “style” of yoga to take as a beginner, this is not it. But some explication might be helpful.
This was my second Ashtanga class. I don’t have much memory from the first, but like with many traumatic events, I have PTSD, but cloudy memories. Since this was my second class and I maintained consciousness (mostly) I think I’m better able to guide you.
Ashtanga is a Sanskrit word combining our words of “pain” and “agony”. There are 5 series of Ashtanga, maybe 6, but I was starting to lose consciousness when this was mentioned. You do the same poses in the same order for each series. i The first five are pain and agony, more pain and agony, most pain and agony, excruciating pain and agony and unbearable pain and agony.
You do a vinyasa between every pose. Vinyasa means movement to and while focusing on your breath while ignoring that your heart just exploded in the center of your chest for exceeding your maximum heart rate.
The first half is designed to build heat in your body. This means, simply, that even in an 80 degree room, you will sweat like Miley Cyrus on the front pew of a southern baptist church. The second half is meant to wring whatever remaining sweat that did not except your pores from the first half.
This was my first yoga class in a week, as I had business out of town last week and a couple of social engagements. When I miss a week of yoga, it often feels like starting over and I marvel at how much fitness I can lose in a week. This intensified that feeling, much like going on a run straight from a recovery room after surgery. Un anesthetized.
If you’ve never tried yoga before, don’t do this. Or, just have a friend hit you in the stomach with a shovel.