Ashtanga Quotes,  History,  Reblogs,  Teaching Ashtanga,  Yoga Philosophy

Do You Agree That “Ashtanga Doesn’t Work Unless You Do It Everyday?”

According to a blog by Florence Yoga, Nancy Gilgoff said:

“You have to do this practice every day, six days a week with moon days off (and menses off if you are a woman) in order for it to work.”

Last weekend, Nancy went so far to say that you shouldn’t even call yourself an Ashtanga practitioner if you don’t have a daily practice. 

-Daily practice can be as short as 15 minutes. It does not need to take up an hour to 90 minutes of your day. (Although she did add that you should practice with a teacher as much as possible.)
– You can set aside 15 minutes every day you can’t get to the studio to do 3 to 5 Sun Salute A’s, 3 Sun Salute B’s, and the three closing postures (see images, below) followed by 5 minutes of rest. 
-You don’t need to do your practice in the morning, although for most people that’s the best time. You certainly don’t need to wake up at 3am like some folks do. You can practice in the evening if that works better. 
-The day you take off doesn’t have to be the traditional Saturday day of rest; take off the day that is most convenient for you.

What do you think?

Picture from Ashtanga Picture Project contributer

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail


  • Allison Cunningham

    I have to disagree. One of my major qualms about the Ashtanga community is that it sometimes appears to be an exclusive club of diehard yogis that are quick to shun other methods as not just inferior, but not real yoga. By sending the message that you are not truly practicing unless you are doing so six days a week, a lot of people who may be interested in trying Ashtanga are scared away. I mean, how intimidating would this be to a person who has never even done a single sun salutation? What about a person who is recovering from an injury and needs time for recovery? Yoga should be inclusive, not exclusive. We should appreciate all who are drawn to the practice and support those who devote any time toward it, even if it is only one day a week.

    While I adore the Ashtanga method, sometimes life gets in the way of a daily practice, even if that practice is shortened. I’m married, completing my graduate degree, training for a marathon, and working demanding hours at an internship. Sometimes I don’t make time to practice, but I still consider myself an Ashtangi. Sure, I aim for 6 days, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen and I’m okay with that. Let’s not forget the quintessential message of the Ashtanga method: “Practice and all is coming.” This method meets you where you are and provides opportunities for growth and improvement. A possible interpretation of this axiom could be as simple as “Practice one day a week and soon you’ll be wanting to practice two.”

  • Tuomas

    I think it works if practiced regularly enough, e.g. 3-4 times a week. But the results are amazing, when you start practicing 6 times a week! Especially for things to progress on the mental side, 6 times is definitely a must in some point…

  • Pauline

    As the practice becomes internal, the practioner wants to practice six days a week . It isn’t a forced regime. You truly become an ashtangi when your sad on your day off!

  • EMS

    Ashtanga is starting to scare me. I’ve committed to it for just over 3 mths after dabbling in various types of yoga for over a year and, coming from an eating disordered background with an obsessional mind I worry that this is taking me down a path I don’t want to lead.