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Beginners beware! Ashtanga is a tough class. You may want to try a beginners class in order to learn the basic poses before jumping into a fast paced Ashtanga practice
The ultimate purpose of the Ashtanga practice is purification of the body and mind. By moving quickly and powerfully, you will generate alot of heat within your body. This practice has a strong sense of purpose and you are forced to focus and grow.
Benefits: Ashtanga comes with all the benefits of a regular yoga practice--strength, flexibility, stress management, and inner peace. Because the series is so demanding (and in traditional practice you're expected to practice most days) you will get really strong really fast. There is no part of the body that doesn't work hard in this practice.
Yoga moves at a stronger or faster pace. Move, repeat, move and hold! Low impact, high intensity. You will burn calories and energise your body.
High Intensity Interval Training - Tabata style training, with or without weights. If you have hand held weights, dumbells or kettlebells great - if not all exercises can be adapted to bodyweight.