Ashtanga · Ashtanga Yoga · Breath · Discipline · East · Ego · Exercise · Flexibility · Meditation · Mysore · Philosophy · Samadhi · West · Yoga

5 Reasons Why You Should Ashtanga

Right after publishing my post last week about learning to surrender through Ashtanga Yoga,  I thought a good follow up would be to give reasons why everyone should try Ashtanga. I am grateful to Ellina Kim, owner of Maitri Yoga Store and Ashtanga teacher at One Down Dog, for being able to narrow it down to five. Who better to give reasons than one who practices and teaches it on a daily basis.

Maitri Yoga Store Home Page
Maitri Yoga Store Home Page

It is challenging to limit the benefits of this practice to just five, but if you are considering or curious about Ashtanga, here are Ellina’s top 5:

1. Creates incredible strength, stamina, and flexibility

This practice has unique and thoughtful transitions that other systems lack. The series is sequenced to create strength and to open the body up efficiently. Ashtanga has been the only practice that has challenged me physically to a point of exhaustion. That exhaustion breaks down the physical body so the subtle and mental body can create new and better pathways of awareness.
2. It allows for better discipline

In the Western world, discipline isn’t valued as much as it is in the East. But with inner discipline, a yogi can create an express highway for Samadhi, which is loosely defined as a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation.  If you cannot discipline the body, it is impossible to discipline with the mind, and only with the control of the mind can you reach a place of true stillness.

3. Establishes a teacher/student relationship and bond

Again, another trait that isn’t valued in the West. In the system of Ashtanga, the student relies on the teacher to progress, and with this, creates trust and surrendering. We live in a world were we protect ourselves and have a hard time trusting others. This practice allows you to confront those issues in a safe environment.
 4. Challenges the Ego and forces you to come face to face with it

This is one of the rare practices in modern day yoga that the teacher is the one that decides when you progress forward. There will  be times when the student will want to learn a new posture or move on to the next series and the teacher will not allow it. The idea of want is the Ego attaching to the world and when the Ego gets challenged, it fights like a 2 year old child. But through those feelings, one can come face to face with attachments and can hopefully move past them.

5. Allows you to go inward into your personal breath and inner world

The Mysore style of practicing at your own pace allows the practitioner to focus on their breath, body, and mind without being distracted by music or others around them. It gives you the time to really dig and explore what’s going on inside.
So, if you’re interested come practice the Primary Series alongside me and other fantastic and dedicated yogis in a small classroom setting, where you get individualized guidance from Ellina at One Down Dog in Silverlake on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6pm. You will see the benefits surpass just the five mentioned above. See you on the mat!

4 thoughts on “5 Reasons Why You Should Ashtanga

  1. This is really cool! I’ve taken classes with Ellina before and I loved the intensity and the focus on alignment. She also led us through a workshop on pranayama in my teacher training and I really enjoyed her calm reaching style. The Led and self-led classes at One Down Dog have had me curious for a while and after reading this I can’t wait to get in there and try it out. Thanks for sharing both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

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