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3 Reasons to Seek Out a “Hard Core” Yoga Class

ashtanga yoga
Written by Nim Stant

You probably think of your yoga class as a relaxing part of the day. It’s a calm space to lie on a mat, meditate and work on some stretching poses to soft music before lying down again for savasana at the end. Almost every yoga studio in the world is dedicated to this kind of gentle class. But does 60-90 minutes of low-impact stretching really get the results you want?

An easy yoga class helps cultivate inner peace and greater flexibility, but it doesn’t deliver as much (or as fast) compared to high-intensity yoga. A hard-core style of yoga transforms your mind and your body in dramatic ways because it focuses on toning muscles through deep abdominal work and both upper and lower body strengthening. Overall, the hard-core workout gives you the maximum return on investment, so you feel like you’re getting the most out of your time on the mat. And pushing yourself is the best way to see the results you’ve been dreaming about.

A great option is Ashtanga yoga, a traditional yoga style that requires a lot of dedication and commitment and is famous for its difficult poses. But the good news is that you will see amazing results if you put in the time — typically 5-6 days a week if you really want to sculpt your body. Best of all, practicing Ashtanga yoga trains you to become a high performer in other areas of your life by changing your daily habits. It transforms the mind and body in dramatic ways. 

Don’t worry if you’ve never tried yoga before. You don’t need to have any experience before you attend an intense yoga class. You don’t even have to be fit. You simply need an open mind and the desire to work hard. Most of the time, the instructor will show you how to do each pose and verbally guide you throughout the class. There may be hands-on correction of your alignment, which can feel awkward at first. Ashtanga yoga is particularly well known for hands-on adjustments. The instructor will even help you to touch your toes.

1. You’ll see dramatic results quickly

A yoga class that requires hard work for challenging postures and makes you uncomfortable — even scaring you at times — is actually a good yoga class. Think about your goals and the results you want: If you want to lose weight or get more fit, then do a lot of yoga for core strength, which helps burn body fat and build more muscle tone. The reality is that the yoga class delivering results is not going to be easy and relaxed. You will need a strong mindset and commitment to your goals. You’ll sweat, and even feel tired and sore the next day. You’re going to work hard. But if you keep it up, you’ll see mind-blowing results. Hard-core yoga will also help your body detoxify by stimulating and balancing the endocrine system. This helps healing, metabolism and immunity, as well as reduces the effects of aging. So, you’ll look younger on the outside, as well as feel amazing on the inside.

2. You’ll feel satisfied for maximizing your workout time

If you’re a high performer, there’s a good chance that you don’t feel completely satisfied with your yoga routine even though it promotes relaxation, better sleep and a sense of peace. Type A personalities want to push themselves and really sweat it out. They enjoy doing their best because they like seeing results. The hard-core yoga class is designed to combine strength training and endurance building for the total body workout. Overall, you’ll get the most out of your time on the mat with a practice like Ashtanga. It’s incredibly fulfilling to achieve something you never thought you could and lends a sense of accomplishment to your entire day.

3. You’ll overcome doubts and improve all areas of your life

Facing the challenge of hard-core yoga can become a healthy addiction, training the subconscious mind to reach new goals quickly by going beyond what you thought was possible. During challenging new yoga poses the subconscious mind thinks, “what’s going on here? I don’t think my body can do that.” This becomes an opportunity to challenge that thought and rewrite it. You’re allowed to think anything, so if you push yourself and risk believing something else entirely, you can in fact reach that new goal. Decide to believe that with proper training and practice, you will be able to master challenging poses. Cultivating new thought patterns during an ongoing yoga practice totally transforms your yoga practice and carries over into other areas of your life. It changes lives for the better!

About the author

Nim Stant

Nim Stant is an experienced yoga teacher, yoga professional, and international retreat leader based in Arizona. She's the founder of Yoga Business Mastery, teaches advanced yoga workshops and hosts yoga retreats at the Samadhi Retreat Center in Thailand.

Her passion is helping awaken her students’ passion for yoga and watching new and seasoned practitioners find deep freedom in their mind, body and self-expression by applying their yoga practice as a cornerstone of their life’s journey. Visit her website by clicking the icon below.

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