Yoga Practice

The wink wink ashtanga secret handshake

Ashtanga has become more of a home practice for me. It’s my default mode. And really, the standing postures are ones you can find in any hatha or flow or vinyasa class. Surya namaskar A is pretty ubiquitous. I will often build off of parts of the ashtanga sequence when I play with my classes since they are so foundational.

After the standing postures, the primary series gets pretty pretzel-like. A lot of behind the back binds and revolved postures and twists. Garbha pindasana and pindasana are their own special little cocoons! Aside from janu sirsasana, which looks like a basic stretch with one leg extended and the other bent with foot to inner thigh, I don’t often see the seated or supine poses done in other classes.

In an old post, I noted that ashtanga was disappearing off of schedules as more modern and hybrid styles of yoga emerged. But every once in a blue moon, I’ll try a new teacher and experience a very ashtanga pose, and it makes me wonder… Was he or she an ashtangi in his or her former life?

The other day, we came out of malasana and were given the option to try bhujapidasana. From there, we transitioned to titibasana and bakasana and shooting legs back into chaturanga. I felt like those poses offered together were the teacher’s wink wink secret handshake to any ashtangis out there.

Maybe because I don’t practice ashtanga with the regularity that I did before, but it warms my heart when that little piece of familiarity pops up unexpectedly in a flow class. Haha. And to think that when I was PRIMARILY practicing ashtanga, some of those off-the-wall poses used to make me feel so uncomfortable. I think I’ll explore that more on my mat and perhaps throw in a weirdo pose in class to see how people react. It’ll be my little ashtanga nudge-wink.

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