When I started practicing Ashtanga Yoga, what I liked the most was to work through a definite sequence, even though I found it – and still find it – incredibly challenging.
It helped me gain a better understanding of yoga and get more of the benefits, for several reasons :
- Better focus : Instead of listening to the teacher and hesitating, I know which pose is coming and I don’t have to be distracted by looking around and waiting for instructions. In turn, I can be more focused on my personal practice, and forget everything else. It’s me and my mat.
- Get into the flow of your breathe : because I know what’s coming and how to do the pose, I can give a lot more attention to pacing and aligning my breathe with the sequence, which helps me get into a “flow” more, or meditation mode. I found that this focus on my breathe gives me a lot of peace and pleasure.
- Perfect the postures : doing the same postures over and over again helped me go deeper and see my progress from session to session. I got to the stage where I could focus on breathing in my ribs, or think of my dristi – where to look.
- More flexibility on the options : because I know the sequence and what’s coming next, I can directly take the options that I like the most in each pose
- Pace the effort : I know what I can give and when to slow down based on my energy level.
I got invaluable benefits from practicing the ashtanga sequence. I would recommend for everyone to try working a sequence for a few sessions, and see how it evolves. Of course, It is still good to experiment new things from time to time!