I am often asked to explain the difference between “regular” yoga and Ashtanga yoga. Depending on the audience, the answer is different. Unless one has extensively studied different yoga styles, it can be quite challenging to understand. Without getting technical, this post will prompt your mind to understand.
On Monday, I posted the following video to Instagram. It features my getting into Parsva Bakasana variation, also known as side crane pose. This example is NOT Ashtanga.
On Friday, I practiced the Ashtanga version of Parsva Bakasana. Appearing in the Fourth Series of Ashtanga yoga, this pose is very challenging. Entered through headstand.
The differences between these videos should paint a nice picture for you about “regular” yoga versus Ashtanga yoga. “Regular” yoga is creative and self-interpretive. Ashtanga yoga is systematic. Mind you, I practice the full vinyasa method, so my Ashtanga practice is chockfull of vinyasa and flow, but it is simply formal rather than wild.
For me, at present, dating back 18 months, “regular” yoga feels like clutter. I continue to use this non-Ashtanga style as a teaching system, however, because it is fun, athletic, vigorous, and accomplishes what my clients’ bodies are seeking. Yoga, however, is my soul. It is something deeper. It is my meditation. And I find that Ashtanga yoga is clean, regimented, systematic, and perfect. I could not have practiced Ashtanga yoga in the early years of my practice because, quite frankly, it would have bored me. Now I exist in a different place.
This morning on Facebook, at 7:45am, I wrote, “GOOD MORNING!!!!! I am so very very pleased to announce that 1.75 hours of my weekly cleaning maintenance later (scrubbing all surfaces, vacuuming / washing hardwood floors, washing clothes which I do daily, scrubbing scrubbing scrubbing, trashing the little clutter that accumulated during the week from mail), and MY APARTMENT EXISTS IN A STATE OF CLEAN, BEAUTIFUL, ELEGANT PERFECTION. I think that one’s living environment must be as clean and minimal as possible. Like the body. Like a skyscraper. It is the healthiest manner in which to exist. Good day.”
Ashtanga yoga fits into this regimented system of living.