Okay, so now I’m done with the first week of the beginner ashtanga course. It seems I’m getting more and more into it. The first class of the course was this Tuesday, we have a nice and really professional instructor. We started the first class with introductions (names, yoga experiences, any injuries), then the instructor gave some explanations, like where ashtanga comes from, what it means, that it has three ‘specials’ (ujjayi breathing, dristi - focusing of the look, bandhas), etc. We also learned that ashtanga classes start with chanting OM three times, then chanting an opening mantra and in the end of the class, a closing mantra. After the theoretical stuff, we started learning the asana practice with the Sun Salutations - first Surya Namaskara A, then B. He gave perfect and explicit explanations for all the poses, breaking down everything to the smallest details and checking us one by one if we were doing everything right (spine straight, hips bent, etc.) In the end of the class we did both Surya A and B five times, and then there was a few minutes of guided relaxation. After class he sent all of us a pdf file about the material of the beginner ashtanga course, which I really appreciate, it’s 89 pages long, written by him and the director of this yoga studio, and it has very detailed explanations about like everything - asanas, vinyasas, mantras, breathing, yogic lifestyle, basics about ashtanga history, etc. Extremely useful for practicing at home. Speaking about which, he also gave us homework, to practice the Sun Salutations every day, three times A and twice B. To be honest, I kind of sucked at it this week.. One of my friends who lives in the UK is home for a week and we went out a lot and were doing fun stuff around in the city, so I was tired and/or lazy to practice.
So then there was the second class of the course on Friday. We started the class with the mantras, and the next thing was the ujjayi breathing. It sounded like there were like twenty small Darth Vaders in the room:) The instructor went around, listenting to each of us breathing loudly. After that we started the asana prectice and did the Sun Salutations (5 times each). Then we started learning the standing poses. During this class we learned forward bending poses, trikonasana and parsvakonasana versions, forward bends with legs spread (prasarita-padottanasana) and parsvottanasana. Again, everything broken down to the slightest details, easier versions for beginners, etc. And then we practiced the whole thing together once, followed by the closing mantra and relaxation.
Now for the weekend I came home to my hometown, and I’m catching up on the home practicing I missed during the week, I even did more yesterday than I should have - instead of 3 Surya A and 2 Surya B I did 5 of each, and also did the standing asanas we learned. And I’m also practicing headstand/forearm balance. I’d like to make my arms and shoulders strong enough by the time we reach the headstand poses of the series. It seems to be working, as I hold the 3 chaturanga dandasanas of the last Surya B for 5 breaths, and the headstands for 10 breaths each time, I already feel my tricepses developing:) Aaand yesterday I also went running again (last time was like 10 days ago, I really need to move my lazy ass more), I did 12 kms, and after that at home like an hour of yoga-streching and also some core strengthening poses like plank, forearm plank, side plank, cobra pose, crocodile pose and boat pose.. I hold them for 1-1,5 minutes.
This morning I just did the 5-5 Sun Salutations because I was hungry when I woke up. This evening I’m going back to Budapest, and I’m really looking forward to the next week, because there’s the other studio I go to, and my instructor was in a camp for a week so there were no classes of hers this week, but tomorrow she’ll be back so I can go again, yeyy:) Hot Yoga on Monday is the best week-starter:)