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Getting Started

Beginners

If you are new to Ashtanga yoga and wondering how to get started, there are several ways to proceed.

First and foremost, we highly recommend coming to observe a class. Seeing the practice in this way usually answers most questions; you’ll also have a chance to meet the teacher. There is no charge to observe, and you can stay for all or part of class.

Second, you can take one of our regular “Intro to Ashtanga” workshops. We generally offer these twice a year, in the fall and spring.

Third, you can simply come to the school with your yoga mat, ready to start (in that case, please come at the beginning of the week, preferably on Monday). You will need to pay for a month of classes online before coming to the school, or by cash or check at the start of your first class. Note: A month is the minimum enrollment period, and we do not offer trial classes.

During your first few classes, you’ll be taught Sun Salutations and possibly also the first standing postures of Primary series. At this point your practice will take about 15–20 minutes to complete. Provided you continue attending class regularly, over time your practice will grow to an hour or longer as you are given new postures.

To learn Ashtanga yoga correctly, you should practice every day, right from the start (except for Saturday and the days of the new and full moon, which are rest days). The importance of maintaining a daily or near-daily practice cannot be overemphasized. Progress is cumulative day-to-day, and if you don’t establish and maintain a consistent daily practice, you will continually be starting over.

Ashtanga yoga is known as a “movement-breathing” system and the practice is done with full, even breaths linked to each movement and posture. Proper breathing is essential. If you are breathing correctly, internal heat is generated and you may sweat a lot, releasing toxins from the body and thus clearing the mind. Eventually, with a healthy body and a strong mind, you will develop increasing stability and ease in your practice.