What is yoga?
While most of the styles of yoga we explore in this blog are derived from the Ghosh lineage, there is one class held at Hot Yoga Ibiza that hails from a different heritage. Ashtanga was introduced to India in the 20th century in by the renowned Sri Pattabis Jois and introduced to the west in the 60s. Today, it is practiced all over the world, including two classes per week at Hot Yoga Ibiza.
So what is Ashtanga exactly? A dynamic form of yoga, the Ashtanga series is a succession of postures, relaxation and twists – organised with increasing difficulty level: standing, sitting, lying, extension and twists. In total, Ashtanga is comprised of six series – here at Hot Yoga Ibiza our 90-minute class is an advanced introduction to the primary series, working on flexibility and deep cleansing of the body, especially allowing opening of the pelvis.
Moving at quite an athletic pace, contrary to Hatha styles of yoga, keeping to the rhythm is important as this dynamic form of yoga utilises the Vinyasa method, synchronising breath and movement between each pose. Ashtanga also focuses on a breathing technique called ‘Ujjai’ which encourages optimal energy management and a significant removal of toxins from the body.
Who is it for? Ashtanga is great for students who are fit (or not – a great way to build your fitness levels, stamina and strength), and for those who like to feel the burn, so to speak! Existing strength and fitness is a bonus for new students, as it will help you achieve the poses more easily, as is an understanding of breathing techniques in order to manage the Vinyasa, however students of all levels are welcome to Sebastien’s classes.
What to expect in class? First of all, no heat – your body produces this internally! There’s also no repetitive dialogue like a Bikram class – classes are guided, however Ashtanga is very introspective. Concentration comes through the breath and the bandas.
Classes begin with two well-known sun salutations – A and B – before entering the standing series, including fundamental positions such as triangle and warrior. Then it’s down onto to the floor, where there is a lot of stretching of the legs and back. Towards the end of the class, the final sequence includes more difficult positions such as back bends, shoulder stands and the fish before bringing you back gently to the floor for meditation, the final stage of the class and the ultimate aim of the practice.