Here at Pila Yoga in Marlow we aim to bring you a wide range of yoga classes, delivered by expert, hand-picked instructors, with expertise covering a number of different disciplines. We want our community to be open to everyone with an interest in yoga and, in the spirit of this openness, we hope to demystify some of the often confusing terminology around yoga so that you can understand our timetable and feel comfortable to come in and try a session that you feel will suit you.

In the interest of this, over the next few months, we will take each of the disciplines available at Pila Yoga, and look at them in greater detail, unravelling the history, the meanings behind the terminology, and we will also look at what a typical class in this discipline might entail.

First up: Ashtanga. Literally, Astha means “8”, and “ang” means “limb”. Ashtanga refers to the 8-limbed paths described by Patanjali in the ancient Yoga Sutras. It was created during the 20th Century by Pattabhi Jois and is often thought of as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. There are six series of Ashtanga yoga sequences, which can be progressed through at the participants’ own pace.

Ashtanga has a dynamic, flowing style. It connects the movement of the body with the breath; synchronizing the two. The individual poses (what yogis refer to as asanas) are linked by flowing movements (vinyasas) meaning that it can be quite energetic and challenging; but instructors can provide modifications for those who need them.

We have two Asthanga classes at Pila Yoga: one taken by Emily on Thursday morning at 10am; and one on a Thursday at 5.30pm with Katharine. Whilst both sessions are categorized as “Energise” on the timetable, meaning that they are faster-paced and physically challenging at times, if you are new to Ashtanga we suggest that you try the morning class. Katharine’s afternoon session is for those who have already a certain level of yoga practice, and is not suitable for beginners or pregnant members.

So, why practise Ashtanga? The benefits of Ashtanga are wide-ranging. With a host of glamorous celebrity devotees from Madonna to Russell Brand, it is tempting to focus only on the obvious physical benefits, but regular Ashtanga practice brings about a host of positives far deeper than toning and weight loss. Increased flexibility, increased strength, and the powerful improved mental focus that comes from regularly flowing through a series of movements are just a few of the pluses that you take home from Ashtanga.

Come in and try out our studio nestled into the heart of Marlow. If you aren’t sure about committing to an unlimited membership you can pay for drop in session, or buy a pack of sessions – we have a number of flexible options designed for every yogi.