Maria Villella on the Importance of the Breath

Ashtanga Yoga teacher Maria Villella talks about the importance of the breath and correct breathing in the practice of Ashtanga Yoga.

Maria Villella on Adjustments, Ego and Injury

Ashtanga Yoga teacher Maria Villella talks about her approach to physical adjustments in postures, keeping the ego in check while practicing, and how she modified her own personal Ashtanga Yoga practice when she was injured.

The Primary Asana of Ashtanga Yoga

Maria Villella

In the Ashtanga Yoga system, the First or Primary Series is performed by all beginners and also intermediate and advanced students on Fridays. There is a designated day of the week to practice each of the six series and Friday is the day for Primary. Primary Series is known for it’s hip-openers, forward bends, full [...]

The Finishing Asana of Ashtanga

Maria Villella in Padmasana

Sarvangasana Halasana Karnapidasana Urdhva Padmasana Pindasana Matsyasana Uttana Padasana Sirsasana Baddha Padmasana Yoga Mudra Padmasana Uth Pluthi Sarvangasana: Inhale: Jump through and lay down with your feet together. Exhale. Inhale: Come up into Sarvangasana (literally “all limbs posture” but also known as Shoulderstand). Hold for ten breaths. Halasana: Exhale: Lower your legs into Halasana (Plow). [...]

The Fundamental Asana of Ashtanga Yoga

Maria Villella Standing Postures Ashtanga Yoga

These asana are performed after Surya Namaskara A and B, and before a series (Primary, Intermediate, Advanced). When practicing Intermediate and Advanced Series, Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana are usually omitted. The Fundamental Asana Padangusthasana: 3 vinyasas Padahastasana: 3 vinyasas Utthita Trikonasana A and B: 5 vinyasas Utthita Parsvakonasana A and B: 5 [...]

Surya Namaskara

surya namaskara

The Sun Salutations of Ashtanga Yoga In Ashtanga Yoga, two variations of the sun salutation sequence are performed at the beginning of a practice or class right after the recitation of the Ashtanga Yoga Mantram (opening prayer). Each variation is usually done five times. Surya Namaskara A (nine vinyasas) ~ Samasthiti ~ Inhale: Hands up [...]

“What is Yoga going to do for me?”


Certified YogaWorks Teacher Sonya Cottle on the benefits and side effects of a consistent Yoga practice. What is Yoga going to do for me? For those who are wondering “What is yoga going to do for me, what am I really going to get out of this practice that I keep seeing around me?”. I [...]

Maria Villella on The Practice of Ashtanga Yoga

Maria Villella

Ashtanga Yoga teacher Maria Villella talks about her first Yoga class, developing a consistent practice and why you should think about how you’ll feel AFTER you practice. Maria on her first Yoga class. My first yoga class was an Ashtanga class. I went into a studio and I asked the women who was there, I [...]

Ujaiyi Breathing

Each inhale and exhale during the practice of Ashtanga Yoga’s sequences of postures is performed with a deep, resonant sound created at the back of the throat. This is called “Ujaiyi Breathing” and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois describes this method of inhaling and exhaling as “breathing with sound”. The Breathe is the Key Attention to [...]

What is Vinyasa?

The term “vinyasa yoga” and “flow yoga” refers to a popular and mainstream style of Hatha Yoga taught in most yoga studios, health clubs and gyms in the west. In popular vinyasa or flow yoga classes, the teacher leads a group of students through a series of yoga postures linked together with continuous movement and [...]

Taking a Class

Ashtanga Yoga classes are either “led” or “Mysore-style”. In led or “conducted” classes the teacher calls out every asana and vinyasa and may give some general verbal instructions. Ashtanga workshops and seminars often follow this format because it works well for large groups of students. Mysore Classes The majority of Ashtanga Yoga classes follow the [...]

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

Bhujapidasana Maria Villella

Named after the eight-limbs of yoga described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, Ashtanga Yoga is a method of practicing yoga postures and pranayama as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore India. The Roots of Ashtanga Yoga Sri K. Patthabhi Jois was born in 1915 on the Full Moon of July. Guruji, as [...]