As an Ashtanga yoga teacher, I know firsthand what a bad reputation my preferred style of yoga gets. Especially in an age when fitness is all about slowing down and taking care of yourself, when I mention that I taught Ashtanga for over 20 years, I often see people recoil in something resembling terror.


They may have witnessed pretzel-like postures, or perhaps they’ve heard about grueling, six-day-a-week practice or trips to South India for crowded 4 a.m. classes. Yes, Ashtanga yoga is an intense practice, and it tends to attract people who are somewhat…driven, to say the least.

But I’d like to clarify a few points because Ashtanga often gets an undeserved bad rap. Here are eight of the biggest Ashtanga myths out there:

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