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Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide: Leading on the Path to Self-Discovery

By Mike Abelson

Popularized in the 20th century by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and disseminated around the world by his family and students, Ashtanga yoga has become a fixture of the yoga world. Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide, a budding studio, specializes on bringing this popular method to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. With an overarching goal of fostering yogic practices and ideals within local communities the world over, the studio is a good stepping stone for novices and expert yogis alike.

At Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide, you will find daily class offerings, intensives, and workshops that can be customized based on students' abilities. From the most basic and fundamental poses to techniques suitable only for expert yogis, chances are you will be able to find your niche at Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide.

The studio's focus is primarily local but it also offers a series of classes that are taught worldwide at their network of yoga shalas. In that way, a permanent link is forged between the Florida location and its sister locales. The center is run by owners Greg Nardi and Juan Carlos Galan. Unlike most other studios, Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide doesn't use music, heat the room, or utilize mirrors. Students are left to practice in an intimate environment of no more than 20 pupils that is free of distractions.

"[We have made] numerous trips to India over the past 20 years to refine [our] knowledge and practice of traditional yoga systems of healing," Nardi said. "There is the quiet rhythm of the breath, the amazing collective energy of each student facing [his or her] practice with the right amount of assistance from the teacher."

The studio's logo is inspired by sacred geometry with the bindu at the center representing the divine creation in space and time. The two superimposed triangles pointing up and down represent the process of manifestation and transcendence. And finally, the circle stands for the eternal unity that brings together all of creation. The logo inspires us to focus on both our individual growth and membership in a universal, collective sense.

Classes at Ashtanga Yoga Worldwide range from the introductory Mysore style to the full primary series that assumes intimate knowledge of the classic poses without modifications or guidance. The Mysore style class is recommended for beginners who want to get a taste of the traditional Ashtanga yoga and the way it was taught in its origin city of Mysore, India. Mysore is based on building a relationship with your teacher while learning the system at your own pace. Rather than being guided through sequences, you will be assisted in memorizing the poses while cultivating an independent practice.

"Ashtanga Yoga actually means eight limbs and indicates an eight-part method leading to insight derived through meditation," Nardi said. "The asanas are the third rung on the ladder leading to that insight."

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