Ready to stretch your practice?

The Ashtanga vinyasa system is the foundation of most contemporary freestyle vinyasa classes. ⁠ ⁠

Yoga classes in this tradition are strong, dynamic, athletic, and breath-driven, with an emphasis on precision and intentional sequencing. ⁠ ⁠

The good news: they’re also suitable for all levels.⁠ ⁠

Here are a few tips for your first class:

  1. Prioritize your breath. Your confident, energizing Ujjayi breath is the true soundtrack of an Ashtanga practice. Always let the steady rhythm of your inhales and exhales drive your practice.
  2. Listen to your body. Gone are the days of pushing our bodies into shapes they’re not quite ready to make. Your body is wise, and it will always tell you the truth. Back off when your hamstrings tell you you’ve found your edge.
  3. Modify vinyasas if you need to. If Chaturanga Dandasana push-ups don’t yet feel reasonable, have no fear! You can always lower to your belly and take Cobra Pose instead of moving through Chaturanga and Upward Dog.
  4. Come back tomorrow. The beauty of Ashtanga practice really emerges as you develop a steady, regular practice. Keep showing up. You’ll be amazed by what you find — and what you can do!

(PS: Check out Govinda Kai's many Ashtanga offerings for a beginner-friendly intro in our virtual platform.)⁠

Guest post by studio BE Vice President Rachel Meyer.

Rachel Meyer is an American writer and yoga teacher based in Switzerland. She draws from her roots in musical theater, theology, and the arts to teach a wholehearted, vigorous vinyasa. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, On Being, Yoga Journal, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Yoga International, Parents, HuffPost, and more. Learn more at or on social media @rachelmeyeryoga.

Feature photo by Maria/Adobe Stock