It is quite natural that anything that originates in one place and migrates to another becomes popular in the new place for secondary reasons. The same thing happened with yoga. When the people of the West started getting wind of this amazing practice prevalent in India and other Eastern countries, they thought of it as a new and revolutionary form of exercise. Hatha Yoga became the go-to yoga for them due to its wide prevalence. Vinyasa yoga became known for the flowy nature that was easy and almost dance-like to them. Iyengar yoga became popular due to its accommodative and inclusive nature. Similarly, Ashtanga yoga gained popularity due to its rigorous nature that worked great as a hard-core form of exercise.
Now you should not confuse Ashtanga Yoga with the Ashtanga or eight limbs of yoga. The latter lays out the principles and philosophy that drives yoga that Patanjali wrote down in his Yoga Sutra. The origin of Ashtanga yoga, however, lies in the Ashtanga yoga style. The Surya Namaskar or Ashtanga Namaskar that precedes an Ashtanga yoga session was the inspiration for the name. Ashtanga means eight (asht) body parts (anga); Ashtanga Namaskar is so named as eight body parts touch the ground.
Who Should Get Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training
Ashtanga Yoga is not for everybody. There are a large number of yoga styles that you can choose from according to your needs and aspirations. If the following points apply to you, you might be the right candidate for Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training.
- Ashtanga Yoga classes are highly repetitive and follow a particular pattern only. It starts with five repetitions each of the A and B sets of Surya Namaskar. Then follows the asanas in a specific sequence only. These sequences are set in the three series of Ashtanga Yoga as the proponent of Ashtanga Yoga K Pattabhi Jois laid down. These are the Yoga Chikitsa, Nadi Shodhana, and the Sthira Bhaga (A, B, C, and D). There is an opening, peak, and closing phase in each asana sequence. A student must follow this every class. If you have the mental discipline to continue with that without getting bored, you can try Ashtanga yoga. However, in the modern-day, teachers conduct classes in a non-linear manner as Sharath Jois, his grandson, has allowed.
- Ashtanga yoga is extremely difficult. The Ashtanga yoga asanas get progressively difficult to achieve and hold and you must practice a lot to get them right. One must have that tenacity to hold on even when it becomes too difficult for them.
- Since there is a fixed sequence only, students are expected to memorize previous ones with practice. Once the class moves on from a sequence, the students must do the previous ones without the teacher’s guidance. If you are not comfortable with that, Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training might not be for you.
- It is general knowledge that Ashtanga Yoga is one of the more physically “dangerous” forms of yoga. Injuries are common when learning this yoga form. Some may be severe enough to require over a month to heal. You must keep that in mind before enrolling for a course.
How to Choose the Right YTTC for Ashtanga Yoga
Before you join a yoga teacher training course, you must know that there are several types of these courses. It is true that there is a set curriculum of the Yoga Alliance. However, the curriculum sets the manner and module of teaching and the instructions for teacher training, not the exact subject to focus on. This means within the curriculum, one school can provide a general course, one can do a multi-style yoga course while others can stress on a specific form of yoga. Before joining a school, you should thoroughly check the specific curriculum of the school itself. Make sure the school or teacher you choose specializes in Ashtanga Yoga instructions. If not, at least see that it has an Ashtanga Yoga immersion course that you can pursue after the 200, 300, or 500-hour YTTC. This will help you become an Ashtanga Yoga teacher.
Also, be sure that the course covers at least the standard Ashtanga Yoga course modules. Ashtanga yoga has very stringent rules in terms of what is taught and how. If the course that does not stick to that, it might not be the right one for you. Another thing you can do is check how the school sets the extra hours. A course where the elective hours focus on advanced Ashtanga Yoga practice will be more beneficial to you.
How to Know An Ashtanga Yoga School is Right for You
Choosing the right Ashtanga Yoga course is not enough; the right school is also important. Which school you choose will greatly influence your experience and teaching style. Choosing the right school can go a long way in deciding your personal progress and future success. Here’s how you know which is the suitable school for you:
- Do not put your entire bet on whether the school is an RYS or not. It is true that a Yoga Alliance badge will help you advance greatly in the professional world. But that is not always a proof of quality. Many non-RYS certified schools exist that are better than RYSs. Similarly, many RYSs exist that are not up to the standard they should be. Be your own judge here.
- Study the curriculum of the school and research the instructor and his teaching style. Only if you think they suit you should you take a step in that direction?
- Read reviews of both standardizing websites, blogs, and previous students. They can give great insight into the environment of the school.
- Ashtanga Yoga is a highly traditional form of yoga. While the yoga style may suit you, the conservative teaching style may not always be up your alley. Indian schools, especially KPJAYI teachers, will strictly follow the traditional style. Other schools may use a more professional, Westernized approach. Choose the way that works for you.
- Look into health insurance. Since Ashtanga Yoga Style is injury-prone, a school that takes medical responsibility will obviously be a great choice.
You must be highly passionate and determined to take an Ashtanga Yoga TTC. Choosing the right course and school can go a long way to helping you achieve your goal.