By Rachael Hanel
What do Willem Dafoe, Gwyneth Paltrow and Adam Levine all have in common?
Besides being celebrities, they all practice a specialized style of yoga called Ashtanga. Ashtanga is a yoga practice with a sequenced set of poses that never changes. It was brought to the West in the mid-20th century but has been practiced in some form for centuries in India.
The sequence is brilliant in its structure. You warm up with sun salutations, then move into standing poses, then seated poses, followed by a cool-down. The sun salutations and standing poses build heat and start to stretch the limbs. Once you get into the heart of the practice, your body is warm enough to go deep into forward folds and twists. The poses have a detoxifying and stimulating effect that you’re sure to feel.
I won’t lie: It’s a challenging practice, but that’s its beauty. If you have some experience with a flow or power class, that can be helpful. I welcome brand-new students!
Don’t worry about being new or not having experience – we were all there once! You don’t start anything – running, swimming, playing piano, etc. – and expect to be at expert level right away. Ashtanga requires patience, a non-competitive attitude, and self-acceptance. The rewards are numerous as you watch your strength develop with regular practice. I am here to guide you and the Ashtanga community in Mankato is highly supportive.
Rachael Hanel has practiced Ashtanga since 2002 and in the last year has made it part of her daily routine. She completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training at Sun Moon in 2017-18. Since then, she has taken classes and workshops specifically focused on Ashtanga. She is enrolled in an Ashtanga teacher training class in the fall of 2019.
Facebook: Ashtanga in Mankato
Rachael’s blog: https://yoga-rachael.com