Is diligence a key aspect that makes Ashtanga different?

The following description of Ashtanga popped up in my email alert on Tuesday:

Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic flow style of yoga with a set sequence of poses, taught by the late Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. Anyone who is diligent and disciplined can benefit from this practice.

The word “diligent” is what really jumped out at me.

I think most serious (if not diligent) Ashtangis probably agree with a general outline of the practice that goes something like: Practice for two or three days a week and you’ll notice some benefits; four to five days is preferred; practicing six days (minus Moon Days) is ideal and will create real change in your body and life.

From that, you probably can figure where diligence comes in. And it makes me wonder just how vital diligence is to the practice. If someone just showed up at an Ashtanga-based yoga class two, maybe three times a week, it would be like whatever your typical/stereotypical asana class, right? The person would get sweaty, would limber up a bit, might watch what he or she ate — at least on the days of practice.

But what about the opposite? And I don’t mean a six-day-a-week Ashtanga practice. What would a six-day-a-week Flow practice do? Would it require the same level of diligence? Would it create real change?

Perhaps anything done diligently, that often, would.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

3 thoughts on “Is diligence a key aspect that makes Ashtanga different?”

  1. Anything done with ‘diligence’, for good or bad, will create change and eventually patterns. Isn’t that the path to samskara’s. Ashtangi’s don’t become yogis over night and neither do alcoholics. It takes repeated effort over time (being addicted after a while probably helps). I’ve found that over the years the practice doesn’t get easier but the consistently of getting on my mat makes my day, usually better.

  2. I think diligence is about sticking to your practice, easy poses as well as the tough ones on a daily/regular basis. Flow classes, in my experience don’t have this.

  3. Bikram yoga practioners also heavily emphasize the diligence aspect of it. Sometimes more so than Ashtanga practitioners – I have a friend who is a Bikram practitioner whose studio did a “take as many classes as you can in one day” challenge, and he did something like eight of them.

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