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

What’s with the Bikram-Ashtanga battle lines?

Back in August, we posted a piece titled: “Ashtanga vs. Bikram: There’s no contest, Ashtanga wins.”

You can check it out here if you missed it. To date, it is still one of the most viewed of our posts.

David Swenson, from his webpage

My question is: Why? Why is it that Bikram and Ashtanga seem always to be set at odds with each other? (The earlier piece here was prompted by an elephant journal post that, true to about 62% of items at ej, was intended to rile readers up as much as possible.)

I ask, because a little blurb popped up online with much the same dichotomy: “Yoga Help — Ashtanga or Bikram?” The person asks, as you can surmise, which to try.

In my mind, this is a strange duality because, other than maybe both making you sweat, there doesn’t seem to be that much in common. (Yes, I guess there is the set sequence; but both are so different.) If someone wanted to know whether to try Ashtanga or a flow or power class, I’d get it. All have vinyasa. But there’s none of that in Bikram. Honestly, I think Bikram has much more in common with Iyengar than with Ashtanga.

So, is it just the sweat factor? And has it gotten to the point where it’s rooted in people’s minds so they think of it almost naturally?

Posted by Steve