Ashtanga yoga class — for women only

In my Ashtanga Google alert on Wednesday — my inbox fills so yours doesn’t have to — I noticed a listed for a women’s only class (at what looks like a general yoga studio), which happens once a week. It immediately got me thinking about whether segregating classes out would be a good, a bad, an indifferent idea. I imagined a class for stiff white guys, for instance.

Clicking through to this women’s class didn’t provide much more information; there was no description or anything. But there was a listing for another class: for men only. And basically it is what I just described: for stiff guys.

Based on the Ashtanga practitioners I know, I think one of this system’s main attractions is its universality: We’re all practicing (give or take our abilities) the same poses, in the same sequence. Yeah, there’s Second and Third and onward, but we all start with Suryanamaskaras and at least a few standing poses (and are supposed to do First once a week). And bandha, drishti, breathing are all common.

I also thought about one of the panels at next year’s Confluence (now open for pre-reg):

11:30 am-1:30 pm – Women’s Panel Discussion with Diana Christinson, Kathy Cooper, Dena Kingsberg, Leigha Nicole and Mary Taylor moderated by Shelley Washington (lecture/discussion/Q&A)
Each teacher will share the profound gift of yoga they received from their beloved teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and one of their favorite stories relating to Guruji. This discussion will offer an opportunity for students to ask questions of the teachers.

Which is to say: We aren’t all the same. And maybe it suggests a rationale for some type of, occasional, practice segmented off for men, women … those pesky adolescent boys we all hear about, the infamous “Ashtanga for seniors.”

I don’t know.

Would something like that attract you? Repel you?

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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