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Surprising Poll Results: Is Ashtanga Yoga Increasing in Popularity?

Fair enough, perhaps we are skewed to begin with asking: “Is Ashtanga Yoga Increasing in Popularity“?  on an “ashtanga-type” of blog. Then again, I have to say that the “shorts” -if I was to speak in finance terms- did their thing.  You can see them in the dark pink, those betting on the popularity of it declining. It came pretty close. Consider the chart below:

103 of you guys voted and I am grateful for the participation. Thank you!
56% thinks yes, the popularity is increasing, while a whooping 31% thinks the opposite.  13% were undecided.
This is a very small sample to make huge conclusions but I have to say that it even surprised me.  Many people seem to be under the false impression that ashtanga yoga is “hard” in spite of the fact that it is taught one-on-one and poses are added only when the student is ready to add more responsibility.   Not only that but it is taught outside of the impersonal setting of a class, with modifications exclusively for just you or me. So where is the hard part? 
I get it, when you look at the streaming and you see Zoe or Andrew in the front line among other long-term practitioners it does look so graceful and easy that it can be considered hard, but perhaps it would be in order to point out that none of these people have practiced for less than, what? at least 10-15 years, every day… maybe more.  And they also started one pose at the time, when they were ready.

Paradox if there is one.


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24 Responses to Surprising Poll Results: Is Ashtanga Yoga Increasing in Popularity?

  1. Anonymous April 19, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    I think you are misinterpreting the results here. Just because someone answers "no" doesn't mean they think the popularity is decreasing. It's just not growing, is what they're more likely thinking. Given the way you phrased the ? and answers, there's no way to tell.

  2. Claudia April 19, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    yes, that could be the case.

  3. Krishna April 19, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Claudia<br /><br />This poll I feel is bit misleading and if u reworded this question as is &quot;Vinyasa&quot; yoga the most popular yoga practice then u will see a different response i.e more than 75% of people saying Yes .<br />After 2000 onwards &quot;Vinyasa&quot; style yoga has slowly overtaken other conventional hatha styles ( like Iyengar , Sivananda etc ) and Ashtanga is one of them .

  4. Claudia April 19, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Krishna, yes it was not meant to be a scientific poll… I wonder if there is a more scientific of sorts poll that would say the numbers of practitioners that are inclined to follow all other paths, but then again, people change their minds daily so who knows?<br /><br />Overall, the 56% tells me that there is still interest in Ashtanga, that is how I view it, and that perhaps, just maybe

  5. Krishna April 19, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Claudia<br /><br />The reason why I talked about popularity of general Vinaysa styles( instead of Ashtanga ) is today I read an interview with Shiva Rea and she herself said that she moved beyond Ashtanga to design her own flow style was due to the fact that after 2000 there is an increase in interest in people doing flow type yoga and she says as proof just go to any yoga studio and look at

  6. Claudia April 19, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Ha!, interesting

  7. Frank April 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    No argument with what Krishna is saying about Vinyasa and Shiva Rea–I know a number of people who have taken to her style and who&#39;ve dabbled in Ashtanga but never taken to it. The fact is that Ashtanga *IS* hard–REALLY HARD. And if it&#39;s not hard, something is wrong–either with what you are practicing or how you&#39;re practicing it (though I won&#39;t rule out some exceptions here).

  8. Loo April 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Why should we care one way or another whether ashtanga or any other type of yoga is more or less popular? If it works for you, then hooray! if it doesn&#39;t and one of the thousands of other ways to contact/nourish/expand your inner spirit do, then do that! Why should ashtanga have to be a one size fits all practice? It&#39;s no different than people believing that accepting Jesus is the only

  9. Frank April 19, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    The reason we should care is because in any city or geographic area, until a certain number of dedicated pracitioners exist, enough to be self-sustaining, there will be a lot of stress of shalas barely being able to meet ends meet (or losing money). We also need enough people so that there are yoga-teacher types who are dedicated students of Ashtanga (in this case) and who can fill in so that

  10. Claudia April 19, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    Frank, that was a very interesting exposition, I am almost beginning to think you are ready for a blog! hee hee… no pressure or anything… I agree with you that OK, fair enough it is NOT easy, but mostly the difficulty resides in how we approach it or in the mind, as in the &quot;not getting bored or anxied over wanting that pincha&quot;, (and I hear you loud and clear as I am one of those

  11. Claudia April 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    @Frank, OK just saw your second message there, guess that makes sense the more popular the practice hopefully the more qualified teachers in more cities. Take Las Vegas for example, they did not have a teacher (in the whole city!!!) or program so they started a group of ashtangis and slowly but surely are gaining attention, Kino and Tim visited them…<br /><br />I believe in the benefits of the

  12. Nobel April 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Very interesting post, Claudia. Very insightful comments, Frank. I have commented on your comments in my latest blog post. Just thought I&#39;ll let you know 🙂

  13. yoginicory April 19, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

    I have to say I was looking for a &quot;like&quot; button on Frank&#39;s posts!<br /><br />At one point last year, I got bored with Ashtanga – on hindsight I know now that it&#39;s becase I lacked guidance. Said teacher only taught me this much, and while I wasn&#39;t perfect, I just got bored. Which was why I sought out a teacher this year, and MAN, it&#39;s been difficult doing everything the

  14. Grimmly April 20, 2011 at 3:55 am #

    grrr just wrote a long comment but it didn&#39;t load. Basically saying that people in the west commit to all kinds of activities, look at the london marathon last weekend. Training for that is hard and monotonous as hell. Dance, gymnastics, martial arts, pushing weights all pretty dull in the beginning.<br /><br />Yoga isn&#39;t necessarily the first thing many people who naturally commit to

  15. Claudia April 20, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    Nobel, I think this is the post you are referring too, good insights, I am glad you went through Frank&#39;s comment and related it to your experience too http://yogadragonden.blogspot.com/2011/04/some-frank-comments-and-rants-from.html<br /><br />Yoginicory being a mother with 3 boys, oh dear! I can, well actually I cannot imagine, I do not want to speak out of my elbows here, but I can relate

  16. Frank April 20, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Well, I guess I&#39;ll need to remember that what I say may be quoted at any time. HA! I certainly did not mean to hijack the post, but the question of whether Ashtanga is increasing in popularity relates to the issues I&#39;ve had recently with my fellow local ashtangis in trying to figure out what might be the best arrangement to ensure that we can keep practicing together and that we have

  17. Claudia April 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Frank, first off, I really welcome your comments, never felt for one bit that you were hijacking or anything like that, I appreciate the discussion here, I actually learned quite a bit and it left me wondering and thinking for the whole of yesterday… I also agree that it is important because it does have an impact on what happens on cities that may not have as many teachers that travel to

  18. Grimmly April 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Fan of long comments as well Frank, interested in the areas you raise as a bunch of times I&#39;ve felt like walking away from Ashtanga myself, not so much because of the practice (although that too) but more because of some of what surrounds it. I introduced a friend to Ashtanga recently, she came from vinyasa yoga, a runner, really interested in and excited about the practice, perfect. She

  19. Frank April 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Oh, thanks. I don&#39;t know about a blog, though. I&#39;m probably too shy to become that public. 🙂 Plus, work should get busy again soon. In a much-needed lull right now…. For now, it will probably be the occasional commenting.<br /><br />Sad to hear about a cliquey shala, and I would discourage someone from making generalizations about the practice based on a short experience at a

  20. Claudia April 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    OK I know you guys were having a conversation but I cannot resist saying two things<br /><br />Grimmly, I know it is hard for you to say that, but it is SO TRUE. You know my thing, how I see money and business as just another energy and for this whole thing to continue that part is important. I think it was last week that I was thinking how Krishnamacharya (although not always) had the Palace

  21. Claudia April 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Opps guess your friend said Mari C, not D… I stand corrected

  22. savasanaaddict April 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    This is one of the most interesting comment threads I&#39;ve read in a while. Thank you all for sharing your insights. And throwing in my vote for a blog Frank! 😉

  23. Frank April 20, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Yes, C. 🙂 I sometimes feel I need to do something like that in D myself, especially on the 2nd side. I actually busted my knee doing the 2nd side of that pose about a year ago, and until recently it has still occasionally freaked me out. Same with any poses that can be tweaky in the knees if I&#39;m not careful: Garbha Pindasna, Bhekasana, Laghu Vajrasana, Supta Vajrasana, Vatayanasana.

  24. Claudia April 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Thanks Savasanaaddict:-)<br /><br />Frank, I actually have the exact same thing on the second side of D where my knee &quot;sounds&quot;… I do not have meniscuses (operations due to rough childhood playing -I never stooped bouncing off walls as a child-. I did see the band, I have never sweated so much as to need one, alhough maybe in Mysore I remember thinking it could come handy, I love it