Set sequences and continuous flow
Lesson 2 Module 1
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is uniquely effective because of a few factors that have stood the test of time.
With this sort of approach, where the poses are the same each time you practice, and they follow a specific order, you are compelled to work on your weak spots and track your progress in a systematic way. If you make up your own sequences it is easy to avoid the things that are difficult.
Learning set sequences also means you can take the practice home with you and practice at home if you can’t make it to class. This is also important if you travel.
Mysore style class format
Another important point is that once you have learned a sequence, you practice it in the Mysore-style format.
That means you practice at the pace of your own breath rather than the moment-to-moment cues of a teacher. This way your body will open up more as you will instinctively give yourself more time where it is needed.
In a Mysore-style class the teacher is free to give individual attention to students and work on individual problems rather than giving general instructions that may not be ideal for a particular student.
Practicing Mysore-style also enables students to focus inside rather than relying on prompts from the teacher. This way the practice becomes meditative and prepares the students for the so-called higher limbs of yoga such as pranayama, etc.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga arranges postures in sequences to create a continuous flow. While you move through the sequences you focus on the breath and internal holds (bandhas) so that the body is heated and purified to make it strong, vibrantly healthy and ready for pranayama and meditation.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the bedrock and preparation for the eight-limbed yoga that sage Patanjali describes in the ancient Yoga Sutras.