New to AYM or New to Yoga

People are starting everyday at Ashtanga Yoga Montreal. Whether you are new to yoga, new to Ashtanga Yoga Montreal, or an experienced yogi/yogini, it is easy to be part of the AYM community.


Which class is right for you?

Simply decide which level to start with. Choose from our drop-in class selection. If you are brand new to yoga, we recommend you start in a Level 1 drop-in class on our regular schedule. Or if you feel you want more in-depth instruction, then attend our Yoga for Beginners 8 week Series classes.

Can I just show up for a class?  Yes.

For the first time for everyone at AYM, it is only $10 which includes all applicable taxes and a yoga mat for the class. If you have your own mat, please bring it.

Please arrive 10 – 15 minutes early to register and fill out a health questionnaire/waiver form. The receptionist at the front desk will help with this.

Wear comfortable, lightweight, flexible clothing such as shorts, T-shirts, leggings or work-out wear. There are change rooms at our studio.

Please bring a small size towel to use in class to wipe off sweat or use as an aid in the exercises.

For an optimal yoga experience, Yoga is best practiced on an empty stomach. It has been suggested that you do not eat 3 hours before practicing yoga asana.

Do hydrate before exercising by drinking water before class.

If you have to leave class early, let your teacher know before class begins and place your mat close to the door so that when you leave quietly, you do not disrupt others. Try to rest for a few minutes at the end of your practice.  Leave your props where they are and the teacher will humbly pick up your props and put them away after you have left.

And a last point, Yoga is practiced in bare feet. Or, if you need to wear socks for a medical condition, please wear socks that grip to surfaces.

If you are new to AYM and Ashtanga Yoga, we invite you to navigate through our website to gain a greater understanding of the style of yoga practiced and taught at the studio.   We are dedicated to teaching and practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa, and Ashtanga Vinyasa Krama Yoga in a holistic therapeutic manner. We draw our lineage through the teachings of Patanjali, Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Sri K.Pattabhi Jois and his teacher Sr.T.Krishnamacharya and other complimentary holistic healing systems such as Ayurveda, Yin Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and Osteopathy.

Please take responsibility for the energy that you bring into the space.
Please smile, and say hello to the person next to you.
Please remember that the expert in anything was once a beginner.
Please do not feed fears about practicing.
Please remember that the practicing is cumulative, ongoing and therapeutic.

Please remember

“Practice mindfully and patiently, then all is coming.” – Allison Ulan


What is Yoga?

“Yoga is seeing life the way it is” —Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

It is an ancient science. For thousands of years, yoga has been used as a tool to open the mind and body to aid personal transformation. Yoga is a psychophysical process and can be adapted to the needs of the individual.

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

“If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter – if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental, and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self.” –Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

The Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga series is a system of Yoga, that is said to have its origin in an ancient text called the Yoga Korunta. This text was imparted to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900′s by his Guru/teacher- Rama Mohan Brahmachari, which was later passed down to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois during the duration of his studies with Krishnamacharya, beginning in 1927.
This style of yoga is characterized by a focus on vinyasa. Vinyasas are the linking of breath with movement. An individual’s breath initiates and controls their movements, plus guides the length of time held in each posture. This process concentrates attention and focus.  Plus, it produces an intense internal heat and a purifying sweat.

The Ashtanga Vinyasa system is an exact science; with a specific breath count for each asana and movement. And when practiced with a progressive series of postures in sequential order, it allows a person to tap into unknown possibilities and uncover hidden potential. This is an ongoing, cumulative and a therapeutic process. When practiced with patience and diligence, it further allows a person to evolve to their fullest potential on a physical, psychological and spiritual level.

The sophistication and simplicity of this type of yoga is that everyone breathes. From an ongoing practice and over time, a person learns to control their breath or allow space for their breath. When one can relate skilfully to their breath, they can, in turn, cultivate a mature practice. By focusing on the breath, an individual’s intention is cultivated, which can initiate an awareness of actions in postures, freeing the body, allowing each movement, asana, to be graceful, strong, stable and always evolving. This awareness of the body then streams into awareness of thoughts, emotions and intentions – the process of meditation. The yogi begins the journey of nurturing a kind, stable and equanimous mind/heart.

What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Krama Yoga?

Vinyasa Krama Yoga classes are grounded in the tradition of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. This approach utilizes the vinyasa technique of synchronizing breath with movement, while remaining respectful of intention of the Ashtanga sequences and practice.  The difference between all six series of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga sequences and Vinyasa Krama sequences, is that in Vinyasa Krama classes, the postures can be adapted, deciphered, or the class structured altered to meet the needs of the students. The Yoga progress is viewed over the long term (10 – 25 years)  to let the integrity of the framework of the Ashtanga Yoga sequences be intelligently and compassionately cultivated.

“Oh Yogi!  Don’t do Asana Without Vinyasa“. -Vamana Rishi

The Eight Limbs/Steps of Ashtanga Yoga

Yoga can be described as a practice, a magnificent science or an art of living, dedicated to creating union with and of the body, the mind and the spirit. It supports the practitioner by using the breath and the body to cultivate and foster new levels of awareness. In more subtle levels of awareness, an intimate connection to reality is born. This increases the sense of self as process, and includes others in our co-creation. This creates a balanced viewpoint of the world where the yogi wants and chooses to live in peace, good health and harmony with the greater whole.

There are eight “steps”, “limbs” or aspects to this practice described as Ashtanga Yoga (asha – eight, anga – limbs, yoga – union of all parts).

The eight limbs as described by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras (250 B.C.) are:

Yama: The Yamas can be thought of as the ethical guidelines, universal morality or emotional integrity that is necessary for achieving harmony with other beings.

Niyama: The Niyamas can be described as actions that are necessary for achieving balance, self discipline and/or personal observances with one’s self for self care and respect.

Asana: The stage where sensory awareness and body awareness are cultivated. Postures(asana), exercises and sensory skills(games) are practiced.

Pranayama: Pranayama is the practice of breath extension, control and energy awareness through breathing exercises. This is a fundamental aspect of the Ashtanga Yoga system.

Pratyahara: When we choose to focus inwards and withdraw our senses from the outer world is pratyhara and the beginning of meditation practices. At this stage, controlling the direction and placement of the senses is paramount. Our attention is directed internally and with kind intention.

Dharana: Dharana is concentration of the mind and cultivating inner awareness.  This stage has been described as where the “real yoga” begins.

Dhyana: Dhyana can be defined as devotion, meditation or contemplation. It can be described as a stream of consciousness whereby very little of the “Ego Self” exists.

Samadhi: The equanimous mind is the eighth limb of Ashtanga Yoga where peace, union, appreciative joy, equanimity and freedom unite. Sometimes this stage of the practice is referred to as Nirvana.

Who was Sri K. Pattabhi Jois?

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois was the main student of Krishnamacharya and he was given the task of understanding and further developing the Ashtanga Yoga Vinyasa system. He was a Sanskirt scholar also and taught as a professor at the Mysore College of Sanskrit.

May 18th, 2009, Guruji (Pattabhi Jois) passed away at the age of 93. His death came as a tragic loss to the worldwide yoga community. His entire life was an endeavor to imbue his students with commitment, consistency and integrity – and to actualize in his own life the conduct of a householder yogi. He was known for the sweetness of his smile, his unassuming nature, his limitless energy and his encyclopedic knowledge of Sanskrit traditions. It is by virtue of his undying faith and enthusiasm that the practice that he learned from Krishnamacharya has remained alive.

And thus, by his devotion to the daily teaching of yoga, his legendary works will remain alive too.  His daughter, Saraswati and his grandson, Sharath continue his tradition to this day in Mysore, India.

Thank you for reading. May Yoga open your heart and mind.

In Metta, Allison Ulan

Where can I found out more about the Ashtanga Yoga Method?

Visit the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute Website.


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