How do you divide the practice of the first series of ashtanga yoga?
Is it possible to divide the First Series in half: one day I do standing and sitting positions, and on the other all the more complicated ones?
Hi, I have a question about the methodology of approach to the first series of Ashtanga yoga. Is it possible to divide the First Series in half: on one day I do standing and sitting positions, and on the other all those more complex asanas in which we “tie ourselves in a knot”? Can I do part of the sequence in the morning and the rest in the evening? What do they say about yogis practising Ashtanga? The user of the Internet PortalYogi Studio
An excellent question! Note how yoga schools deal with this time problem – the series is divided in half (to the end of sitting positions).
Of course, a good idea (if possible) is to practice half the series in the morning and the other “complicated” half in the evening, when the body is usually more flexible. Then warm-up is also recommended.
Sequence splitting methods
Dividing the series into two days is also a sensible solution.
This is what happens in the Vinyasa Krama method, from which Ashtanga Yoga originates (Vinyasa Krama was taught by Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, a teacher of Patthabi Jois, who is considered the creator of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga style).
The full range of asanas is performed over a longer period; one day would simply be too short to practice all position variants and focus on every part of the body in one session.
One day, you practice a whole series of asanas directed at a specific body part, or you practice a specific problem/need (e.g., better balance).
In a month’s perspective, we can be sure that we “cover” the whole set of asanas, affecting every possible part of the body.
Therefore, you should adopt the practice to your capabilities and divide the series as described above.
If you divide a series (regardless of which half you do) do a closing sequence. E.g. the whole morning and only the final big 3 in the evening.
What is the first series of Ashtanga yoga?
Learning the First Series of Ashtanga prepares you for the next stages of practice. This is where you familiarize yourself with the Vinyasa system, learn about the asana set and get used to the daily practice of yoga. You learn discipline and motivation!
However, Ashtanga’s practice is not only focused on positions, but also on how to combine asanas – sequences, or so-called “Flow” (which is characteristic of Vinyasa, from which, as I mentioned, Ashtanga is derived).
By learning the First Series, you develop the habit of practising yoga, and these patterns will be useful to you when practising other types of yoga. The first Ashtanga Yoga series is also aimed at opening the body, building balance and improving flexibility.
In Ashtanga, you learn not only from the position but also the moments of passing: moments of expanding the position and stopping in it, waiting and holding before you enter the next asana.
This moment in between is filled with breath. So if you’re sharing a series, remember also about the breathing rhythm.