The Primary Series is the foundational practice of Ashtanga Yoga. It contains 48 poses with a very wide range of postures, including Sun Salutations, standing, seated, and inverted postures. They range from basic to challenging, and if you are new to this particular practice, you are not expected to do be able to do them all the first time you try. In fact, this particular approach to Yoga follows a philosophy of learning that says it’s good to learn things slowly, a little at a time. So, if you are new to this class, please remember— you don’t have to do everything, but you can try as much as you like. If you have some Yoga experience and want to check it out, you can try as much is as comfortable for you and stop at any time in the series (or just hang out and watch to see what the poses look like) and keep coming back to learn new poses at your own pace.
Ashtanga Yoga follows a technique called vinyasa, which means the linking of breath and movement together. It is a structured and dynamic form of practicing yoga asanas and can have wonderful effects on the body, mind, and spirit. Enthusiasm and effort are encouraged for all spiritual endeavors, and Yoga considers that challenging ourselves is a good thing, we just have to be careful to monitor our levels of energy and awareness and also remember that becoming a more conscious person is largely the objective of Yoga.
This class runs for about 80 minutes.
PRIMARY & INTERMEDIATE POSTURES
This class is the full Primary Series as described here, and on Mondays and Fridays, we add in a couple of Intermediate postures to introduce you to poses from the sequence that follows Primary.
This class is about 90 minutes long.
PRIMARY & 1/2 INTERMEDIATE
This class is for if you have been doing the Primary Series for a while and are looking to explore the first half of the Intermediate series up until Kapotasana. You can also come to this class if you just want to do Primary, and then stop out when you are finished, or before Intermediate starts.
It is about 90 minutes long and a good place to learn the beginning of Intermediate. It is different than the Monday and Friday class in that it goes through the first poses of Intermediate sequentially, and Monday and Friday we pull some poses from different places in the sequence.
In order to take this class, you should be very comfortable doing all poses in the Primary Series. We only mention this because these poses will not be beneficial if you haven’t gotten comfortable with the Primary Series first. If you are interested in learning the Intermediate poses, but might not be ready for this class, come learn a few of the poses each week on Monday and Thursday, when we do a few Intermediate poses after the Primary Series or the Primary and ½ Intermediate on Tuesday.
This is 90 minutes long.
This Beginner’s Yoga class includes about 30 minutes of yoga postures, ten minutes of breathing practices, and five minutes of relaxation. If you or someone you know has no experience doing Yoga at all, and may not even be physically active, this class has some great postures, some nice stretching, and all the internal focusing that makes for a balanced and gentle Yoga class.
This class is about 50 to 60 minutes long. It’s for everyone, and you should feel pretty good when you’re finished!
ONE HOUR ASANA CLASS
In this class, we do about an hour of poses that are largely from the various Hatha Yoga traditions. These are postures I do in my own practice, many that we do not find in Ashtanga Yoga. It’s basically an all-level class. Some Ashtanga Yoga folks find it too easy, but for me, it works pretty well, and you get to move your body in ways that you don’t in an Ashtanga Yoga class. This is a great class to try if you want to do some traditional Yoga practices or want a mid-week break from Ashtanga Yoga!
Pranayama is the science of quieting the mind through breathing practices. Our breath is moving in and out of our bodies every minute of every day of our lives, and rarely do we pay attention to it. However, paying attention to our breath is a good thing to do, because it shifts our perceptive awareness inwards. It can calm stress levels, improve sleep, steady the mind, and increase our perceptive sense. Pranayama is the practice of paying attention to how we breathe and how we can use purposeful changes of breathing patterns to quiet the nervous system, slow down the speed of the mind, and expand our energy levels. We learn how to maximize something that nature has given us already–the power of breath.
This is a 30-minute class. All levels are welcome. Though it may be a little basic for those with a lot of pranayama experience, it should be about the right level for someone who is new to pranayama practice or has a little bit of experience. Every few months we do more intensive pranayama workshops.
KRIYAS, BANDHAS, AND MUDRAS
The practices of kriyas, bandhas, and mudras are elucidated in the Hatha Yoga texts for strengthening and purifying the nervous system. In a typical class, you will learn different types of abdominal contractions, energizing breath patterns, and purificatory practices. They are an essential foundation for deeper Yoga practices. As well, they can be strengthening for the digestive and elimination systems.
This class is 30 minutes long.
YOGA SUTRAS LECTURES
The Yoga Sutras are the foundational teachings of the Yoga philosophy. In this group, we go through the Sutras, which are aphorisms (short sentences) on Yoga, and discuss them. The Yoga Sutras are basically a text that teaches us how to not only deal with our mind, but to go beyond the conventional ideas of what a “mind” is to find deeper layers of experience.
This is an ongoing class that is open to everyone. In the Hindu tradition, you can just show up, listen, and not even have to understand completely what’s going on. You are invited to bring your curiosity, we will take care of the rest.
The class is 60 minutes long, and though the philosophy can be challenging, it’s mentally invigorating. Come check it out!