Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Practice Ashtanga Yoga in Goa, India

After my three month-stay at the Sivananda Ashram I contacted Carol, a dear friend of mind that I met in Mysore at the KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute. She is great, a very dedicated ashtanga practitioner. She always has some good tips for me and she immediately replied to my mail recommending me a place in Candolin, Goa where her own teacher practice ashtanga yoga. It is called Yoga Bones and it is run by two famous ashtanga yogis, Rolf and Marci.
I contacted them and at first I was shocked about the price... very expensive but since yoga is the reason why I'm here in India I decided to go for it.

Waiting for a spot in the shala at 6am

I don't regret it at all, although I was only able to stay for one week I totally loved it. I was first surprised that although the beach season is over and everything is closing still their shala was packed. There were around 30 people practicing together in two different shifts. I felt like a Pro practicing next to very advanced Ashtanga Yogis and learning from two great teachers' teachers.

One week is certainly not enough but Rolf and Marci did manage to give me some pretty good advice to improve my practice. They are walking around the shala correcting postures, giving advice and helping to improve the flexibility of their students. They are both great teachers. Rolf is very cool and Marci very strong (I can still hear her saying "don't do what you want to do, do exactly as I tell you to do!", I loved that). They are both really nice people and on my last day they gave me a warm hug and wished me a safe journey. All the students seemed to be really nice as well but unfortunately I didn't have enough time to mingle with them long enough to make some nice friends.

About Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is a very intense and physical practice. You sweat profusely but it feels great. It is very different compared to the traditional hatha yoga style taught at the Sivananda Ashram. The Sivananda style focuses on 12 basic asanas that follows a specific sequence with emphasis on holding the posture for as long as comfortable and with relaxation at the beginning, in between and at the end of the practice. In ashtanga yoga the asanas are performed in a continuous flow, following a specific sequence as well, but holding each posture for only five deep breaths and there is only one relaxation that is performed at the end of the practice.

The Sivananda style is also called "integral yoga" cause the emphasis is not only on the physical part but also on other aspects of yoga philosophy like Karma Yoga (selfless service), Gnana Yoga (analyzing reality), Bhakti Yoga (devotional practices) and Raja Yoga (meditation) which the practitioner should try to integrate in his daily life. In Ashtanga Yoga the emphasis is mainly on the physical practice. There are no ashrams (spiritual community residence), only "shalas" (yoga studio) where people do the practice. The only thing that matters is practice, practice and practice. Like Sri Pattabhi Jois says "Ashtanga Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory". I like both styles, I think they can complement each other.

More information

If you want to know more about Ashtanga Yoga you can visit the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute website. Sri Pattabhi Jois was the famous yoga teacher that initiated many westerners into Ashtanga Yoga.

If you want to practice Ashtanga Yoga in Goa just contact Rolf and Marci at yogabones@gmail.com and if you need more information you can visit their website www.yogabones.org

And to know what Ashtanga Yoga looks like you can take a look at this amazing video in YouTube


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