Review of Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series with Jessica Kass and Fightmaster Yoga.

If you thought the David Swenson’s and John Scott’s videos were fast paced, than this one will have you hyperventilating. In less than one and a half hour, Lesley Fightmaster has you running through the entire Primary Series. Somewhere halfway, you can hear her sucking on a candy which I found distracting, although I understand that you can get pretty thirsty talking and counting for 90 minutes non-stop.

As she emphasises herself at the beginning of the practice, this is not meant for beginners as she does not give any alignment instructions nor modifications. Jessica Kass has a pretty practice with a few quirky habits. She adopts Anjali mudra every time in Samasthitih and does Gyan Mudra with her loose hand in the seated poses, something Patthabi Jois discouraged. Indeed, you will see most traditional Ashtangis make a fist, but hey, each their own rituals!

The counting is in Sanskrit and Lesley has a pleasant voice, yet altogether this was much too fast for me. I breathe super slow, but Lesley counts the breath to get into the pose as the first of the five holding breaths and uses the fifth breath to get out of the pose, effectively holding the pose for only three breaths. Perhaps this is how they practice in downtown Manhattan or LA where people live in a constant rush, but my background is the lush jungle or lazy beaches of Bali and India, where everybody has the time to breathe and a full practice takes at least 1 hour 45 minutes. I must admit I have never been to Mysore so I don’t know what the average practice time is at the main shala, I do know that the led classes are very fast. The idea of practicing alone however, is that you adopt your own pace.

So if you like a slow and intense practice, this would not be a suitable recording.

Total duration: 1 hour 24 minutes
Practice starts at 50 seconds into the recording
The finishing sequence starts at 1 hour 7 minutes 10 seconds

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