The Practice

Ashtanga Yoga is a systematic practice of yoga that follows fixed series of asanas, or postures, and is characterized by 'vinyasa’, ‘moving meditation’. This is a sequence of asanas, practiced in time with the breath synchronizing to each movement of the posture. Students develop great awareness and control over the breath, body and mind through regular practice in a Mysore style class.

Mysore-style classes are suitable for everyone, from complete beginner to experienced practitioner. This is the traditional method of learning the yoga practice and is the way that it is taught in Mysore, India – ‘Mysore style’. In a self-practice class each student receives individual attention as they work at their own pace with assistance and adjustment from the teacher when and where necessary very much like a private lesson in a small group class situation.

How is the Practice Taught, What can you expect?

The Ashtanga series are learnt best with a committed regular practice . This is for the growth of memory of posture by posture, with new postures being added when the student is ready naturally and gradually so that most of the time the student begins to practice without being ‘led’ by a teacher but instead growing independently. Mysore style Self-practice classes, therefore, have students arriving, taking practice from a mixed levels of practice. All are welcome.

New Practitioners When first starting to learn the practice, allow about 30-45 minutes for your practice, then slowly and safely building up to about an hour and a half once a full series of postures is more familiar. Students who are beginners with no experienced to a Mysore self-practice are encouraged to come in and observe for their first class as to how the practice is taught before they commit themselves to classes. It is recommended that a Minimum of One month commitment with 3 days a week practice, this is a daily practice , meaning 6 days a week, Sunday through Friday, rest on Saturdays, moon days, and ladies holiday.

Your first class will begin learning to breathe correctly with the movement into the sun salutations. You will also be taught about the other important elements of the yoga practice such as gaze, known as drishti, pranayama, the breath, the core strength from the locks and magic seals, known as the bandhas, the 8 limbs of the yoga practice and lifestyle. There will be this repetition of sequences, the Primary series, known as Yoga Chikitsa , means Yoga Therapy – is a set of seventy-two postures, all performed in a set sequence. Each practice and each time you arrive you will be shown when ready and appropriate to the next posture and so on until you have built up a sequence of postures that you can remember by memory without too much prompting or assistance. As you develop your personal practice learning the sequence slowly and safely, this will enable you to focus inwardly, listening to nothing but your own breath, and the result is a meditative moving practice known as Vinyasa, a moving meditation.

The Philosophy
The word “ashtanga” means eight limbs. All eight limbs carry value and importance equally. Although asana, the physical moving practice of the postures, is for all purposes and serves as the best place for any student to begin to explore and experience Yoga. The limbs are :

  1. yama (moral codes)

  2. niyama (self-purification and study)

  3. asana ( physical movement of postures)

  4. pranayama (breath control)

  5. pratyahara (sense control)

  6. dharana (concentration)

  7. dhyana (meditation)

  8. samadhi (total peace) .

    During your practice we work with body, gaze and breath to purify the body, seeking to eliminate the six poisons that prevent us from seeing the divine. They are kaama (lust), krodha (anger), moha (attachment), lobha (greed), matsarya (jealousy) and mada (pride).

With the physical practice you are bound to work up a sweat and improve your fitness. While the health benefits are what attract many people to yoga in the first place, they are a happy by-product. The real goal is to create balance, allowing us to live in peace and harmony with others and the rest of creation.We teach in the traditional style which means we will be giving physical, hands on adjustment. Yoga is medicine, its therapy to the body, we ensure that these are beneficial and safe for the practice to transform and improve our well-being. We want to assure anyone who comes to practice to express they are not comfortable with touch, assists, adjustments at any time that we will respect and make recommendations , alternative suggestions that is appropriate to meet the needs of your practice.

The Teachings from Teacher to Student

Paramparā (परम्परा) is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as “tradition” or “lineage”. Paramparā encompasses the relationship from teacher to student. By exchanging knowledge based on direct and practical experience, the teacher and student form the links in the chain of instruction that has been passed down for centuries. 

Therefore, here at Shala Santosha Yoga,  Christina honors the lineage of her teachers and shares their teachings of the practice as it was taught to her.


Practice Etiquette

Respect the student-teacher relationship by trusting requests or study from your teacher.

Unless requested by your teacher, do not add or skip postures from the traditional Ashtanga sequence.

For your safety and longevity of your practice, please do not take any new postures unless your teacher has requested you to do so or has sought advice. Stay to the traditional sequence as taught to you to prevent you from injury.

Arrive promptly 5-10 min prior to all Led Guided Class

Personal hygiene is considerate part of practicing yoga. Please ensure that you and your clothing and mat are clean after each practice as we do sweat quite a lot during each practice. Mats must be cleaned daily with mat cleaner is stored at the Shala.

Women/Men: Please dress modest and appropriately for respect of our bodies. Wear comfortable yoga clothing to be able to move and stretch. Our Shala gets warm to a comfortable 80 degrees where a tank or tee is manageable. We are not heated as a Bikram studio, therefore Bikini bottoms and tops are not required.

Practice with care and consideration towards yourself and others. Respect your limits by listening to your body with mindfulness so that you can tune into how you do feel each day because each day is different. But also go a bit beyond your edge if you can do so to challenge your growth for healing.

This is your Yoga Practice. A place for mindfulness and meditation. Please share the courtesy of other practicing students by keeping the conversation down throughout the studio, direct your questions to the teacher (s) and refrain from disturbing another student’s practice. No texting, social media posting during class, All pictures/videos taken at the shala with other students or with teachers need permission for release. Your practice should be focus, meditative and undistracted.

Don’t forget to turn the volume off on your cell phone before class. With respect to all taking practice, embrace every opportunity to be present within your practice, there is a place and time for pictures/videos as these are not part of your Yoga practice while at the shala.

Find Joy through all experiences of the practice. Enjoy your Breath Each day flowing with your body. If you enjoy your practice today and feel its profound benefits , I assure you will return each day to honor your personal growth, development and your healthy mind, body and spirit.

If you would like to develop your personal practice. Please email cmartiniyoga@gmail.com to schedule your first experience.