Why Ashtanga Part 2: Purification

Chris-yoga-5-©-Celia-Humphries www.celiahumphries.comI’ve allowed some months to pass since my last post on Ashtanga, as I have gone deeper into my practice and contemplated more on what drives me to continue. The first reason I keep this as a major part of my life and the first impact the new practitioner is likely to feel is physical purification. This is best understood through experience – and I encourage all to try this practice for a month with an experienced teacher – but I will try to explain in words in the hope that I pique someone’s interest in exploring further.

1 This can actually be a problem for people with a body type that does not gain weight easily (Vata in Ayurveda) – some fat layering is useful for fertility, immune system strength and warmth, but Ashtanga tends to do a good job of removing everything
2 Recently it has been called simply “free breathing with sound” to distinguish it from a separate type of breathing exercise
3 David Swenson’s video is also an excellent primer
4 The traditional interpretation of Ahimsa, or non-violence, part of the first leg of Ashtanga yoga, says that one should not eat meat, which harms animals. As a result most Ashtanga yoga practitioners become vegetarian.