Creating a Safe Space for Practice
Over the last few years, the Ashtanga world has been through challenging experiences as a yoga community. Through painful experiences – not only personal but equally through those of others – we have the opportunity to learn and move forward with a better understanding of what it means to create a safe and supportive environment for all teachers and yoga practitioners.
We have great respect and trust for the teachers who lead the retreats at Purple Valley Yoga Centre. They've dedicated their lives to the practice and teaching of Ashtanga yoga and always welcome an open dialogue with the practitioners.
Our intention is to continue serving the Ashtanga yoga community with honesty, inclusivity and compassion, and to continue to create a space for practitioners to grow and deepen their practice.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Series
The Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga series, when practised correctly and with discipline, has been shown to help build strength, improve flexibility, relieve stress and create a general state of calmness, wellbeing and ease.
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a moving meditation – a system of flowing postures, linked by the breath, which is the powerful connection at the heart of the discipline. The focus is on developing a daily physical practice to strengthen, purify and energise the body. This eventually leads to a steady, controlled mind and a healthy nervous system.
The Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga method in the tradition of K. Pattabhi Jois involves synchronising the breath with a progressive series of postures. Students learn postures in a fixed order using a special movement-breathing technique called 'vinyasa'. Vinyasa is the term for breath synchronised with movement. The vinyasa links the asanas together in the dance of the breath.
The breath is the essence and heart of this discipline and links posture to posture in a precise order. Asanas should be practised in the correct sequential order; the intention is for the practitioner to produce intense
internal heat and sweat to detoxify muscles and organs, which results in improved circulation and a light, strong body.
Practitioners also rediscover their full potential on all levels of human consciousness. Through proper breathing (ujjayi or breathing with sound), postures, gazing points (dristi) and locks (bandhas), the Ashtanga yoga practitioner gains control of the senses and a deep awareness of the self.
The Mysore Method/Technique
Mysore is the city in the south of India where Ashtanga yoga was taught by K. Pattabhi Jois from the 1930s until his death in 2009. Mysore self-practice is the traditional way of practising Ashtanga yoga and enables the student to learn individually, yet with all of the group energy of a conventional class. In a ‘Mysore class’, students work at their own pace, practising and progressing through the series according to their ability and individual needs.
Since each asana is designed to prepare the practitioner for the rest of the series of postures, beginners have a shorter practice than more experienced students. As they gain strength, stamina, flexibility and concentration, additional postures are given by the teacher, so the practice becomes longer and more demanding.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga for Beginners
It's often believed that Ashtanga yoga is not for beginners and that you'd need to be a seasoned yoga practitioner to sign up for a retreat at Purple Valley. For a total newbie it may seem intimidating and impossible. But all the teachers at the centre welcome beginners. Students enjoy the advantage of individual support and feedback in a Mysore style class, while still in a group setting.
You move at your own pace, while the teacher helps modify any of the postures that might be inaccessible, to suit your age, body type and fitness level. Just what a beginner yogi needs!
Ashtanga yoga is also a great way to experience the meditative side of yoga. It involves a consistent focus of the mind on the breath, the posture and the gaze which allows us to be focused in the present moment. Since we don't have to put our mind to deciding what asana to do next each day, and the series is more or less set, the practice becomes a moving meditation.
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Check out our Tenerife Retreats page to find out more about our upcoming retreats