Dr. Ochester‘s preferred style of yoga for her personal practice is Ashtanga, although she has experience with several styles of Hatha yoga. In addition to earning her RYT-200 through Emily Darling & Christy Burnette at Darling Yoga, Dr. Ochester completed a 40 hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training program with Kathleen Kastner and an 18 hour internship with Lisa Ash at Maya Yoga. She also completed a 24 hour Ashtanga Yoga for Addictions Training with the Trini Foundation. She teaches a Recovery Friendly Ashtanga Yoga class for the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness.
Yoga has been my doorway into mindfulness and compassion, making stillness more accessible, opening my awareness into inner experience, expanding self-knowledge, and teaching me to love unconditionally. – Tracy Ochester, PsyD
Ashtanga is a system of yoga in which a set, progressive series of postures are coordinated with breath (ujjayi pranayama) and focused gaze (drishti). It is flowing and intense, producing internal heat and encouraging single pointed concentration.
Ashtanga yoga was engineered to be a system of healing encouraging physical health and spiritual growth – a path to the “true self” which is free from suffering. There is some preliminary research and effort at using ashtanga yoga to help people with all kinds of physical and emotional challenges. The Trini Foundation is using ashtanga yoga to help people in recovery from addictions. In a small study of twice weekly ashtanga yoga training in female college students, “participants were show to have increased upper body muscular endurance and increased trunk flexibility. There was additional evidence supporting positive effects on cardiovascular fitness, perceived stress, and mental health.” A study is presently underway at the University of Windsor in Canada about the beneficial effects of ashtanga yoga for breast cancer survivors.
Here are some helpful resources for those interested in learning more about Ashtanga yoga:
- Maya Yoga – Kansas City studio offering traditional Mysore and led classes
- Ashtanga Primary Series video with Sri K Pattabhi Jois
- R. Sharath Jois leading Primary Series in Mysore, India
- Ashtanga Primary Series video with Kino MacGregor
- Michael Gannon’s From Earth to Heaven Ashtanga Yoga video
- Ashtanga Primary Series video with Mark Darby and Nicole Bordeleau
- Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual by David Swenson is a spiral bound full color book that lies flat on the floor in front of your mat and explains/illustrates poses by a master Ashtangi
- Ashtanga Picture Project – a website for sharing information about the practice through pictures, blogs & community
- Guruji Lives Here – a video honoring the legacy of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, esteemed teacher of Ashtanga Yoga.
- Ashtanga yoga cheat sheets from ashtangayoga.info
- Ashtanga opening chant video by Melanie Cooper with captions
- Ashtanga closing chant video by Sharath Jois with captions