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Changing Individual Lives Through Self-Celebration: Ashtanga Yoga Brings Life-Altering Wisdom and Beauty to Northampton

By Paul Rowe

At Ashtanga Yoga Northampton, you don't have to be a spring chicken to start improving your lifestyle. Likewise, you don't have to go along with what everyone else is doing. At Ashtanga Yoga, for the first time in what feels like a very long time, the celebration of yoga is a celebration of the self.

Contrary to traditional yoga's tendency to address people together in groups, the Mysore style practiced at Ashtanga Yoga Northampton focuses on each individual, one at a time. Deeply committed to excellence in both knowledge and practice, Ashtanga's enthusiastic teachers provide one-on-one, non-competitive yoga instruction for all ages, sizes, shapes, and levels of fitness. This kind of specialized yoga with an individual focus carrying on the traditions of India has tangible, immediate health benefits.

"The yoga we teach incorporates intentional breathing with a set series of dynamic movements as well as postures. It starts slowly, and the student should take their time learning it with a qualified teacher. With consistency and dedication, Ashtanga Yoga becomes increasingly complex and more rigorous?almost an art form, like dance or learning a musical instrument," Michelle D. Ryan, founder and teacher at Ashtanga Yoga Northampton, said.

As one of the original forms of yoga postural practice developed in the last century in India, the Ashtanga style is artful, graceful, and awe-inspiring in its sheer breadth of vision. Tried and tested, and older than most yoga forms taught in the West, the Ashtanga style, designed by people for people, combines postures, developing concentration, meditation, and focused breathing to stimulate one's self-awareness and sense of inner peace.

"As you become more adept and gain mastery over your breath, body and mind, you begin to sense, then manage and control, your internal energy or life force, too," Ryan said. "While that may sound a bit woo-woo, what I actually mean is, you align breath and mental or spiritual intention to your physical body during the movements to create what becomes more than just exercise. It becomes yoga: a union of mind, body and spirit."

The continual devoted engagement in this kind of yoga, for a long time and without break, physically and mentally grounds an individual. This kind of yoga awakens the spirit dwelling in every individual, waiting to arise from within. This cathartic awakening initiated by spiritual healing does nothing less than alter the course of one's life, and it is necessary to embrace this transformation with open arms.

"Above all, do not be afraid to try yoga," Ryan said. "It will change your life for the better."

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About The Author

Paul Rowe is a graduate instructor of writing and master's student of Literature at...

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