Thursday, February 23, 2012

What personality type practices Ashtanga yoga?


If you're a woman at a certain age (far above 30) it's more likely that you practice Ashtanga yoga as if you're a young man.

When I look around in our classes (this is of course not representative world-wide) we have much more women. I'd say 80% are yoginis.
I'm always amazed about the age. The average age is rather high. We've a man here who is 58. Our youngest yogini is 25 and a student as far as I'm informed.

I regret that we've not more younger men in our classes. Hahaha......

1. Ambition is a word that comes into my mind when I think of Ashtanga practitioners. Sometimes I wonder if Ashtanga yoga is a collecting basin of women who couldn't live out their ambition in a job and now they want to know what's possible on the mat where no boss will stop them. (Till they experience that they are stopped at asanas someone else thinks she cannot perform it comme il faut. Hahaha). I know this, for the time being I don't feel stopped.
2. In order to get a sense of achievement most yogis and yoginis have to show perseverance. Those who want a quick satisfaction and entertainment do something else. It can take up to a decade to learn some poses.
3. Ashtanga yoginis are lonesome wolves, misfits, renegades. They fight alone. Individualists they are and not willing to subordinate to a group. They want to come to a class when they want and they want to practice according to the own rhythm and breath.  Group sports are more for tall people in addition. There are exceptions, but this is the rule.
4. It's not mainly fun that yoginis are seeking, they work on themselves on their body postures, the breath, the thinking. This is all not so obvious attractive like winning a soccer match.
5. Body type doesn't play a role. Not everybody is super slim, some are tall, some not. Neither does the job and relationship status  play a role.
6. I wouldn't say that yoginis are control freaks. Nevertheless the word controlling is not a foreign word. Yoginis/yogis control the breath, the eye movement, the body postures from the little toe to the little finger, they count. At least they control themselves and not others.

Please feel free to complete my list.

I sometimes wonder why someone is practicing Ashtanga yoga. It's a good question. I'm sure I'll get answers.

7 comments:

Kitharo said...

Dear Ursula :) perfekt post..and I've to say I agree with all of it (although, with 25 and male I'm a exception to the first point)...of course nobody likes to be put into a pattern, but I stil think there's really an Ashtanga type and your post sums it up perfectly :)

One thing that's true for me too when it comes to Ashtanga and other parts of my life, is that I like routine...like the same postures in Ashtanga every day or the same morning routine or something similar. Guess what attracted me to Ashtanga is that I'm slightly ocd ;)

And "Group sports are more for tall people" rings true to, because when I look around in my mysore class, most of them are as short as me...strange isn't it?

Namaste and have a good day

Ursula said...

Thanks Kitharo.

I just finished my basic morning routine: I made the bed, had a breakfast. Afterwards cleaned the dishes, brushed my teeth.

Indeed conscious routines are part of Ashtanga practitioners. :)

Have a good day. Ursula

Francisca said...

Good morning from Lisbon,

Dear Ursula, I think you got the picture, I can see myself in your description. Also here it's the same frequence, mostly women well over 30's, curious.
Have a good day, and thanks for beeing an inspiration to me!

Ursula said...

Oh, a comment from Lisbon.

It's such a wonderful city in Europe and I'm so lucky that I'll soon travel to Lisbon again.

Thanks for reading and commenting. This makes writing so much more interesting.

Namaste. Ursula

Anna said...

Those looking for some truth and purity - almost impossible to find in this mean world.

Robyn said...

Hi Ursula,

My mysore group is at least 50% men, if not more. I am amazed because usually yoga attracts more women. I think you are right about the age group being older (for both men and women) but I am happy to report that my 13 yo daughter often joins me in the morning. Since ashtanga was created for teenagers, this makes more sense than me doing it! But I do love it so.

Also, we have lots of tall people! Including me. Also lots of people of Asian descent (here in NYC). Not sure if I would make a generalization based on race, but I have noticed, among the women, perhaps half are Asian American.

What does it mean? I have no idea!!!

Ursula said...

Thanks for the comments ladies.