Private yoga Instruction Connecticut & New York


Ashtanga Yoga

The Roots of Our Yoga

The teaching at Home-Simply Yoga is based upon the lineage of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.  The ability to trace the roots or lineage of teaching is important because the perspectives of generations of teachers cause subtle changes in the experience of the practice.  By recognizing and honoring the roots and lineage of our teaching we reduce the risk of losing the essence of yoga along the way. 

The Ashtanga Vinyasa System

The system of Ashtanga yoga is based upon a breathing and movement system known as vinyasa.  For each movement in the system there is one breath.  An asana or posture in the system may be made up of several vinyasas (combined breath and movement) that create heat to help the blood circulate freely throughout the body and remove impurities through sweat.  The postures we practice are designed to address specific issues, such as structural integration, cleaning the nadis, or strengthening the internal mudras. The continued regular practice of Ashtanga yoga, teaches us to combine our attention to the posture (asana), the breathing system, or inhale and exhale (rechaka and puraka), and a looking point (dristhi) to first purify the body, then the nervous system, and finally the mind.  This traditional approach is present in all contemplative traditions where the goal of practice is honest self knowledge that can shine through in all aspects of your daily life.  Ethical conduct, honesty, and compassion are at the heart of the practice.  In fact, the practice room is a laboratory in which we can explore ourselves in a safe way.  How we react to situations in our practice is likely the same as the way we react in the rest of our lives.  Are we easily distracted, paying attention to others in the room, in constant need of something new, looking for happiness from the outside in the form of music, clothing, new postures, etc.  Does our ego want others to notice us and be impressed with what we can do?  All of these things are a sign that we have missed the essential teachings of yoga.

Ashtanga yoga is an ancient system of yoga first set forth by Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta.  The teachings of the text were then imparted to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the 1900’s who in turn taught the system to his student Pattabhi Jois.  One of the first western teachers to be certified to teach by Pattabhi Jois was Chuck Miller who, along with his partner Maty Ezraty, has practiced and taught the Ashtanga  system for over twenty five years.  In addition to practicing with Pattabhi Jois, Gary and Melissa Margolin, the founders of Home-Simply Yoga, have studied extensively with Chuck and Maty, trained as teachers with them, and served as their assistants.

At Home-Simply Yoga

We are constantly striving to bring the best teaching possible to aid our students on their individual path to their personal goals.  This requires that we maintain an open mind about the Ashtanga system to make it applicable to our culture and the condition of each individual student’s mind and body.  In this way, we are following the tradition of Krishnamacharya by adapting the yoga we teach to the student rather then making the student adapt to the yoga we teach.  We encourage our students to read and ask questions about ancient texts that influence our lineage and to compare our traditions to those of other lineages.  We frequently have visiting senior Ashtanga teachers as well as teachers from other lineages and encourage our teachers and students to deepen their practices as they broaden their experiences by studying with these visiting teachers. 

Ongoing Classes

We use breath and movement, sound principles of alignment, an understanding of the therapeutic aspects of yoga, and familiarity with anatomy and physiology to teach each student in a way that provides appropriate challenges and yet maintains the therapeutic aspects of yoga.  All of our classes utilize the internal, meditative approach that is the central theme of Ashtanga yoga.

Led classes may be based upon the sequence and flow of the traditional series or may focus on certain aspects to help students refine alignment to avoid injuries or to prepare themselves for new postures as they deepen their practice.  Mysore classes are conducted in the self-practice methodology taught by Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India.  A Mysore style practice allows students to work on an appropriate series or therapeutic loop with the help and assistance of a teacher.  We also offer specialty classes and workshops featuring various aspects of the practice.

We believe that the practice of yoga is more than just the physical exercise that has become so popular.  Our commitment to our students is to help each one as they are ready to develop a personal Ashtanga or eight limbed practice of yoga.  It is for this reason, we have classes that teach more than just asana and pranayama.  In addition, we host meditation groups, lectures, kirtan, and discussion groups.  Each class and event on our schedule is aimed at helping students on the eight limbed path of yogic discovery first described as a systematic approach to self-realization by Patanjali in about 200 B.C.  In his classical text, the Yoga Sutras, he set forth the eight-limbed path of internal purification that would help reveal one’s own true nature

Yama (A guide for external conduct within a society)

Niyama (A guide for personal discipline)

Asana (Postures)

Pranayama (Breath Control)

Pratyahara (Sense Control)

Dharana (Concentration)

Dhyana (Meditation)

Samadhi (Contemplation or absorption in the Self))

This path is at the heart of the living lineage of yoga that came to us through T.K.V. Krishnamacarya and K. Pattabhi Jois.

From its beginning on the west side of Los Angeles, Home-Simply Yoga has been committed to the ancient practice of Ashtanga yoga.  The system is the basis of all vinyasa flow yoga and a proven way of recognizing an individual’s needs in a manner that helps them develop an appropriate personal practice.  Our vinyasa flow classes are led classes that may be based upon the sequence and flow of the traditional Ashtanga series or focus on certain aspects to help students refine alignment to avoid injuries or to prepare themselves for new postures as they deepen their practice.  Whether you attend Ashtanga or vinyasa flow classes at Home-Simply Yoga, you can expect to be taught the combined use of postures, breath, and looking points (dristhi) to first purify the body and then calm the mind.  We have used this proven system with students who are young, old, large, small, fit, injured, flexible and stiff with successful results.

Why is the Primary or First Series of Ashtanga Yoga called Yoga Therapy?

The first series of the Ashtanga yoga system is known as Yoga Chikitsa, which translates as Yoga Therapy.  At a time when many try to challenge Ashtanga yoga as too hard or not appropriate for their age or body type, it is important to remember the intended use of the practice of the first series.  Taught by skilled instructors, Ashtanga yoga is appropriate for all ages and body types... (Read this complete article on the Ashtanga Yoga Blog)

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