Practising Ashtanga Yoga on a regular basis is a great way to stay fit, flexible, and healthy. It promotes good physical health through exercises called yoga poses. These poses are done in a flowing sequence which is generally the same wherever you practice.
It is a great workout for your cardio-vascular system – the continual flowing poses coupled with a focus on breathing means you will generate a fair amount of body heat. Regular practice will hence significantly improve your level of ‘active’ fitness.
It is also excellent for improving emotional and mental health. The exercises / poses support improved focus and stability – which are important ingredients in having a balanced emotional and mental state.
Before you start doing Ashtanga Yoga it is worth noting that it is designed for people who have a reasonable level of fitness, or know have some yoga experience. It is not recommended for anyone with an injury or a health condition. It may be better to improve your level of fitness before starting Ashtanga Yoga.
The best way to start Ashtanga Yoga is to visit your local yoga studio that teaches Ashtanga Yoga or check out our downloadable Ashtanga Yoga Beginners Program. The seven class series is the perfect introduction to the fundamental postures and breath-work in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
When practising these classes, we also recommend that you familiarise yourself with each class as many times as you like before moving on to the next class. Each class is a progression from the previous class, so if you find one of the classes too much then just go back to the previous class.
In terms of equipment – your local yoga studio should have all the equipment you need. That said, you may want to get your own yoga mat.
When practising our downloadable MP3 yoga classes, the only equipment you will need is a clean clear space and a yoga mat!
After a trip to Europe & Scotland, my partner & I decided to move away from central Sydney in 2009 and explore living somewhere quieter & away from the buzz of the city. We decided to move to the Blue Mountains – an hour west of Sydney. Of course the interesting transition with moving from city to country was finding good yoga classes to replace the myriad of available intermediate classes we were so used to attending in Sydney.
Hence I began my search, and after trying out small short-term classes in community centres, I very soon realised that except for 2 exceptionally good Iyengar Yoga studios that capped the top and bottom end of the mountains, there was very little quality intermediate yoga in between. If they were available, there was hardly any marketing to indicate where they were & when classes were held. In true country-style, news travelled by word-of-mouth.
Being a teacher-practitioner who loves combining thorough Iyengar as well as strong Vinyasa in my weekly training, I was extremely pleased with the intensive & thorough attention to alignment the Iyengar training was providing, but was soon feeling quite desperate for a strong vinyasa class.
The first time I stepped into Paul Frechtling’s class, I knew I had stepped into the “real deal” as far as yoga classes are concerned. Classes in the Blue Mountains average 5-6 people in a class. Ten students in a class was a big class. Walking into Mid-Mountains (Lawson) Community Centre at 6pm on a Wednesday night, I was impressed to find 20-odd serious-looking yogis & yoginis getting ready for practice. What then ensued for 2 blissful hours was a mind-blowing 2 hours of the Primary Series (slightly modified Paul-Frechtling-style of course, as inevitably teachers do) with an inspiring room of yogis who could pretty much move effortlessly through every single “pretzel pose” imaginable! I was in yoga heaven, and from then on I was hooked! The next class I attended was in a small dance studio in an alley-way in Katoomba. I still remember Paul giving me directions and saying, “Just look for the pink door.” 🙂
Paul Frechtling teaches & runs retreats in Sydney’s Blue Mountains, as well as holding classes in Sydney CBD during the week. Paul has been practising Ashtanga Yoga for over 17 years & teaching for more than 14. He trained with the late Sri K Pattabhi Jois in Mysore India, and is a certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher. He teaches with care and understanding to slowly cultivate deeper awareness and encourage a daily practice. To read more about Paul check out his bio page.
We have since then, moved from the Blue Mountains and are now permanently settled in Canberra. Whilst staying in the mountains, Paul Frechtling gladly decided to participate in Live Yoga Life, recording one of his legendary class. I still continue to enjoy practising to this 2-hour intermediate class.