ASHTANGA & TEAM

AYRF TEAM

WHAT IS ASHTANGA VINYASA YOGA?

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a well-known Hatha Yoga system that has its roots in Patanjalis Sutren and Yoga Korunta. The oldest known teacher is T. Krishnamacharya, who in turn passed on his knowledge to his students, among others T.K.V. Desikachar, B.K.S. Iyengar and K. Pattabhi Jois.

In the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, we dynamically and in harmony with breathing alternate between different postures (asanas) and thus work energetically with our body. But if we look at Ashtanga Yoga as a whole, it is much more than what we see on the mat: Translated, it is “the path ofthe eight limbs” and consists of just as many building blocks, some of which are visible, partly palpable and partly unimaginable. The asanas only describe the third limb.

The regular and devoted practice of the eight limbs (Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana & Samadhi) leads to a wonderful energy perception and concentration, even to a (dynamic) meditation as well as to a deep knowledge of his self. The following applies: 99% practice and 1% theory.

WHAT IS THE TRADITIONAL MYSORE STYLE?

In the traditional Mysore style, a teacher supports the student in finding his own living practice (self-practice) or in deepening his existing practice individually. The student receives adapted assistance and is corrected in the execution of the postures (Asanas). Due to the individual instructions, a Mysore hour is basically like a private Ashtanga yoga unit. At the same time, one benefits from the motivating and inspecting energy of all practitioners in the room.

In the beginning, Ashtanga Yoga is usually experienced as a physically demanding yoga form. However, the practice in the Mysore style is always adapted to the respective possibilities of the practitioner. Students are therefore challenged, but not overwhelmed. The aim isto find a unique balance between rest and challenge in yoga, between breath and movement and between attention and in-self-sweeping.

In addition to the focus on tradition and dedication, at AYRF we see the Mysore style primarily as an individualized practice. In order to prepare for certain asanas or to respond to physique-psychic conditions, we detach ourselves from the strict tradition if necessary. Then we use e.g. variations in the sequence or execution of the exercises, which everyone can carry out guaranteed. The goal is a traditional, individualized-customized yoga practice.

Students who already have a permanent yoga teacher and are only visiting Frankfurt (drop-ins), practice their usual practice at AYRF. Out of respect for the teacher-student relationship, I do not make any changes to their practice. I make exceptions with the student, if I consider it absolutely necessary, for health reasons, for example, for a student to adapt or omit an Asana.

AYRF PHILOSOPHY

MY PERSONAL EIGHT LIMBS

1. Ashtanga Yoga is an individual practice.

For me, it’s not about putting a rigid system on a student, it’s about accompanying each student on his or her personal path. This is how our (as I like to say) Godfather T. Krishnamacharya (1888-1989) saw it:

“Teach what is appropriate for each individual”.

In order to prepare for certain asanas or to deal with physio-psychic conditions, I depart myself to the strict tradition if necessary. The goal is a traditional, individualized Ashtanga Yoga practice.

2. Ashtanga Yoga is like brushing teeth.

In my opinion, we should not boast about both, not carry it so much outwardly, but simply do it and not constantly try to optimize it. One should not see it AS THE great revelation, but simply regard it as a self-evident part of his daily routine.

3. Ashtanga Yoga consists of 8 limbs and not just one.

Strength and flexibility don’t make a yogi yet. Accordingly, Ashtanga Yoga is more than the asanas for me. The asanas nevertheless form a very good introduction to the practice of the eight-member path, since one works from the outermost shell steadily inwards.

ॐ First you go INSIDE, then OUTSIDE ॐ

4. Ashtanga Yoga is the close connection between teacher and student.

I think it’s very important to have a yoga teacher you trust. One should feel comfortable and seen in his shala. I am in my shala every day to support my students in their individual ways. I know all my students not only by name, but i know their problems, their challenges, their woes; I see them.

The following applies: What grows slowly has deep roots. It is important to me to realize that the development is happening with you on your mat and I only accompany you.

5. Ashtanga Yoga happens where you are.

You can practice Ashtanga Yoga with what you have and where you are. In the end, it doesn’t matter where you roll out your mat: Ashtanga works, detached from space and time, where you merge with love, dedication and mindfulness.

6. Ashtanga Yoga should be accessible to everyone.

For me, Ashtanga is not a consumer and certainly not a luxury commodity. That is why, from the very beginning, I have not excluded those who are less well-funded from participating in classes at AYRF. If you are in a difficult financial situation, you can come up to me and make an individual contribution with me.

“Everybody can do yoga, except lazy people” (K. Pattabhi Jois)

…. and so this should also be taken literally and implemented. If you want, you can support the AYRF principle of solidarity with a voluntary obolus.

7. Ashtanga Yoga works in daily practice.

The actual work in Ashtanga Yoga is the (daily) devotional practice of the eight paths: Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. No more, but no less. Here you can see your up&downs, the depth of your self, the depth of Ashtanga Yoga. Here you go your way, the end of which can be the knowledge of becoming like with your true self.

8. Ashtanga Yoga does not force or overwhelm you.

You don’t have to practice six times a week, lead a certain lifestyle, give up your lover and include the unloved in your routine: when it’s going to happen, you’ll want it. Ashtanga Yoga is what you want to make of it.

AYRF TEAM

CHRIS
OWNER & TEACHER

CHRIS | Ashtanga Yoga Raum Frankfurt

Before I came into contact with Ashtanga Yoga, my life was focused on sports and physical challenges. I worked as an aerobics and fitness trainer and was persuaded to do my first yoga class. A turning point that finally took me to where I stand today: I have been practising and teaching Ashtanga Yoga in Frankfurt since 2005.

I took the opportunity to practice with different teachers, but when someone asks me where I learned Ashtanga, the correct answer is: On the mat. Regular practice with yourself will immerse you more deeply in yoga and learn more about this path than you can ever do at any workshop or teacher training.

In my courses, I teach my students the essence of the Ashtanga yoga system. The fusion of theasanas (postures), bandhas (energy locks) and drishtis (gazing points), also called Tristana, is fundamental for this. I also give an insight into the other seven limbs of Ashtanga Yoga.

Looking back over the last few years, I have realized that not only the students, but also me as a teacher, are undergoing constant change along the path of Ashtanga Yoga. Over the years, my view of both my own role as a teacher and my way of teaching has changed. At the beginning I still felt like a strict traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teacher and today I wouldould rather describe myself as a companion, initiator and supporter on the individual paths of Ashtanga Yoga. I keep tradition in mind, but the focus of my courses is on individuality.

After the Ashtanga Yoga community was shaken by the post-mortem acts of K. Pattabhi Jois, I decided to remove his pictures from my Shala. While I have seen Pattabhi Jois as an inspirational person, respect for the victims is to send a clear signal against abuse.

A gurucentered system can have its positive sides if the so-called guru fulfils his role: he should lead his disciples from the dark to the light, from the ignorance to the knowledge and from the unrecognizable to the knowledge (of their self). But his status should not create room for any kind of abuse. As a human being, as a student and as a teacher, I have always questioned such guru-centric systems. The center of Ashtanga Yoga should not lie in a person or institution, but in everyone, regardless of space and time.

Om namah shivaya!

BEATE
CO-TEACHER

BEATE | Ashtanga Yoga Raum Frankfurt

I first came into contact with Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga at the beginning of 2015. My motivation at first was purely physical: I was looking for a new sporting challenge after I had to give up other sports due to my back problems. Accordingly, I also put the hope of improving my health on Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

For the first half of the year, I practiced YouTube videos in my own home with a Hatha Yoga book and finally with a colorful collection of Ashtanga Yoga-inspired YouTube videos. The pictures of dislocated yogis impressed me hard and were instrumental in ensuring that I stayed on the ball.

That Ashtanga Yoga can be more than physical effort, I only learned about my first hours in the traditional Mysore style at AYRF. Looking back, I have to admit that it was here where I realized the real point of view reagarding the understanding of Ashtanga Yoga. Actually, I had planned to visit a yoga studio only sporadically and otherwise continue to practice for myself. But it was the other way around: I practiced as much as I could with my teacher and rarely at home.

Today Ashtanga Yoga and AYRF is part of my daily routine, it shapes my lifestyle, is my conviction and passion. At the beginning of 2018 I started my training with Chris as an assistant teacher and since the beginning of 2019 I have the opportunity to pass on my experience in myown Mysore lessons to the students. I am a proud co-teacher at AYRF since 2020.

I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know Ashtanga Yoga and to delve deeper into it on various levels: physically and psychologically. I am determined and i am delighted from the bottom of my heart not only to continue along this path in the years to come, but also to pass it on.

Atha yoga anusasanam!

DORA
ASSISTANT TEACHER

DORA | Ashtanga Yoga Raum Frankfurt

My very first yoga class was a guided Ashtanga Yoga Led Class in Amsterdam at the end of 2014. The practice immediately thrilled me! I felt shaky on my legs and had no idea about yoga, but during that one hour and 15 minutes my head was completely switched off. I only focused on the execution of the asanas. From then on, I either took part in the weekly Ashtanga Led Class or attended classes of other yoga styles until I moved to Germany in 2016.

Far too busy arriving in the new country and getting along, I took a longer yoga break. I only practiced at home from time to time for myself. In 2017, I decided to resume the thread and complete a teacher training. My goal: to learn more about yoga, deepen my own practice and find out if working as a yoga teacher could be something for me in general. I knew that the training had to be Ashtanga-specific, because this yoga style had given me the most pleasure. So it happened that I booked a month in Bali in 2018.

Because I wanted to prepare for the training, I was looking for a teacher in Frankfurt. So I found Chris/AYRF and started practicing with him. Here I realized that yoga is more than the asanas. I also experienced the Ashtanga Yoga Mysore-style class for the first time. Thanks to Chris, I was able to gain an insight into the eight limbs of the Ashtanga and experience that I can learn the most about myself and about yoga at the practice on the mat.

Of course, the monthly training in Bali did not give me enough knowledge and self-confidence to teach yoga directly. It was a good start, but I knew I had to learn to understand the practice better before I could pass on some of my experience. This is also the case with attending workshops: you cannot learn everything within a few days or weeks. I took part in some workshops and realized in the end that I am looking forward to the daily practice in my home shala.

At the beginning of June 2019 I started to assist in the hours of AYRF. This shows me a new perspective around yoga. It gives me the opportunity to share what I have already learned and to learn so much new things myself. I look forward to leading yoga students on their way and accompanying them with my knowledge at some point as a teacher.

For me, yoga means creating a closer connection to its inner self and figuring out who you really are at its core. It’s not always easy and it’s always going up and down. But the bottom line is we’re here to learn and yoga is a great tool for that. Practice reveals what is going on inside.

Yoga citta vrtti nirodhah!

JONAH
ASSISTANT TEACHER

JONAH | Ashtanga Yoga Raum Frankfurt

For the first time I came into contact with Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga at a sports club in a Frankfurt. There I had the opportunity to try my way through different yoga styles and I realized quite quickly that Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga should get all my attention. I was fascinated by the meditative, sweat-inducing mood that prevailed in the room during practice and which always transferred to me immediately. Unfortunately, this course was only offered once a week. So I asked where in Frankfurt there would be the possibility to practice Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.

“If you want to practice regular and traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in Frankfurt, you have to go to Ashtanga Yoga Raum Frankfurt.” – and so it happened that I signed up with Chris in May 2019.

What excites me most about Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the full focus on me and my body at the moment. Since the beginning of my practice, I have been impressed to find that while i am practising, I completely forget my everyday life, my thoughts about current problems and stress at university or at work and am only there for myself. Ashtanga Yoga is good for me and has a positive effect on my overall well-being. I also love the physical and sweaty strain. Now I not only have the opportunity to deepen my practice on a regular basis, but I can also expand my knowledge of this wide-ranging philosophy.

JANA
SUBSTITUTION TEACHER

JANA | Ashtanga Yoga Raum Frankfurt

My first contact with yoga was thanks to my mother at about 11 years old. The access to yoga was then very free and playful and so I could make friends with the idea that Ashtanga Yoga is probably not necessarily just such an “adult thing”.

I came to my first Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga class two or three years later after my father suggested I attend a class with some school friends. This course was led by Heather from pink elephant, who still accompanies me as a close reference person, yoga teacher and friend. The combination of physical challenge without competition, relaxation after tension and the directed focus on one’s own mat, one’s own body, one’s own mind, I liked from the beginning. As a result, I visited the guided Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Class more or less regularly until 2010 when my father, Flippo, and Heather opened the Ashtanga Yoga Studio pink elephant in my hometown of Ansbach. From then on began a much more regular Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice and I got to know the traditional Ashtanga Yoga Mysore style.

In a difficult time for me as an adolescent woman – marked by identity issues, the separation of my parents and a stressful upper secondary school – I began to realize that the Ashtanga Yoga practice allowed me to gain more support, calmness and acceptance and understanding of my body. The topic of non-violence in one’s own actions and thinking also came up more and continues to occupy me intensively to this day.

When I was 18, I went to India for almost three months. In the following years I was able to get to know various teachers and their teaching styles, i was able to deepen and consolidate my Ashtanga Yoga practice. My father introduced me to assisted and later to teaching for the first time. I have always had a close bond with my father, which was reinforced by the Ashtanga Yoga practice and the understanding of it.

As part of my training, I moved to Frankfurt in 2014 and met Chris and Ashtanga Yoga Raum Frankfurt. Chris welcomed me from the very first hour with open arms and hearts and gave me the opportunity to participate in the lessons not only as a student, but also as an assistant. I was able to learn a lot from his experience and through my own assist. In July 2018 I moved to Amsterdam and am happy to still be part of AYRF.

I am grateful for all the teachers I have met and learned from. To this day, a regular Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice for me meant confrontation with myself, permanence, self-love and care as well as working on a healthy body and mind.