Welcome to the Most Extensive Ashtanga Yoga Program in Utah
The Front Climbing Club is the only yoga shala (school) in Utah authorized by R. Sharath Jois of Mysore, India, the current head teacher or “guru” of Ashtanga Yoga. Our authorized Ashtanga teachers, Samuel Brown and Sarah Jane Burkholz have had many years of study under his tutelage and all of our Ashtanga teachers have had many years of practice under authorized teachers, through which this valuable practice was passed down with respect and love.
Ashtanga Yoga is a science and a practice that has evolved over thousands of years. The discipline has 6 sequences, each with around 30 different sitting asanas (postures). All sequences start with Surya Namaskars (sun salutations) and the same core standing asanas. Each sequence ends with backbends and the same finishing series of asanas. The first sequence, the Primary Series, can be a lifetime of practice and is called “Yoga Chikitsa” or body therapy. Yoga Chikitsa has many forward folding postures, hip openers and jumps. The forward folding postures encourage lengthening of the hamstrings and contraction of the front side of the body, conditioning the inner organs and making the lower back more secure and supple. Patience and time are required to familiarize the body and mind with this practice and it may take many years to learn completely.
Benefits of Vinyasa
Vinyasa means breathing and movement system. For each movement, there is one breath. For example, in Surya Namskar there are nine vinyasas. The first vinyasa is inhaling while raising your arms over your head and putting your hands together; the second is exhaling while bending forward, placing your hands next to your feet, etc. In this way all asanas are assigned a certain number of vinyasas.
The purpose of vinyasa is for internal cleansing. Breathing and moving together while performing asanas makes the blood hot, or as Pattabhi Jois says, boils the blood. Thick blood is dirty and causes disease in the body. The heat created from yoga cleans the blood and makes it thin, so that it may circulate freely. The combination of the asanas with movement and breath make the blood circulate freely around all the joints, taking away body pains. When there is a lack of circulation, pain occurs. The heated blood also moves through all the internal organs removing impurities and disease, which are brought out of the body by the sweat that occurs during practice.
Sweat is an important byproduct of vinyasa, because it is only through sweat that disease leaves the body and purification occurs. In the same way that gold is melted in a pot to remove its impurities, by the virtue of the dirt rising to the surface as the gold boils, and the dirt then being removed, yoga boils the blood and brings all our toxins to the surface, which are removed through sweat. If the method of vinyasa is followed, the body becomes healthy and strong, and pure like gold.
After the body is purified, it is possible to purify the nervous system and then the sense organs. These first steps are very difficult and require many years of practice. The sense organs are always looking outside and the body is always giving into laziness. However, through determination and diligent practice, these can be controlled. After this is accomplished, mind control comes automatically. Vinyasa creates the foundation for this to occur.
Tristhana: This means the three places of attention or action: posture, breathing system and looking place. These three are very important for yoga practice and cover three levels of purification: the body, nervous system and mind. They are always performed in conjunction with each other.
Asanas purify, strengthen and give flexibility to the body.
Breathing is rechaka- inhale and puraka- exhale. Both the inhale and exhale should be steady and even, the length of the inhale should be the same length and strength as the exhale. Breathing in this manner purifies the nervous system.
Dristhi is the place where you look while in the asana. There are nine dristhis: the nose, between the eyebrows, navel, thumb, hands, feet, up, right side and left side. Dristhi purifies and stabilizes the functioning of the mind.
For cleaning the body internally two factors are necessary: air and fire. The place of fire in our bodies is four inches below the navel. This is the standing place of our life force. In order for fire to burn, air is necessary, hence the necessity of the breath. If you stoke a fire with a blower, evenness is required so that the flame is not smothered out, or blown out of control.
The same method stands for the breath. Long even breaths will strengthen our internal fire, increasing heat in the body which in turn heats the blood for physical purification, and burns away impurities in the nervous system as well. Long even breathing increases the internal fire and strengthens the nervous system in a controlled manner and at an even pace. When this fire is strengthened, our digestion, health and life span all increase. Uneven inhalation and exhalation, or breathing too rapidly, will imbalance the beating of the heart, throwing off both the physical body and autonomic nervous system.
An important component of the breathing system is mula and uddiyana bandha. These are the anal and lower abdominal locks which seal in energy, give lightness, strength and health to the body, and help to build a strong internal fire. Without bandhas, breathing will not be correct, and the asanas will give no benefit. When mula bandha is perfect, mind control is automatic.
Ashtanga Yoga Schedule
Meet the Yogis
Sarah Jane is our resident yoga director. She has been studying and practicing Ashtanga Yoga since 1998 and teaching at The Front since 2010.
Trainings in India with Guru Sharath Jois:
« December 2019 & January 2020: 2 month Ashtanga Yoga Study at Sharath Yoga Centrer in Mysore, India (December 2019: Received Authorization level 2 to teach full Intermediate and Primary series of Ashtanga Yoga from Guru R. Sharath Jois)
« March 2019, month long Ashtanga Yoga training at KPJAYI in Mysore, India
« October 2018, Namarupa Yatra with Paramaguru Sharath R. Jois, Robert Moses, Eddie Stern and Radhakunda Das, Himalayas, India
« Month long study at KPJAYI in Mysore, India, November 2016
Workshops with Guru R. Sharath Jois:
« October 2018, Namarupa Yatra with Paramaguru Sharath R. Jois, Robert Moses and Eddie Stern, Himalayas, India
« 6 day Led Intermediate and Primary Series Workshop and conferences with Guru R. Sharath Jois in Los Angeles, California, June 2017
« 6 day Led Intermediate and Primary Series Workshop and conferences in Los Angeles, California, June 2016
« 6 day Led Intermediate and Primary Series workshop in Los Angeles, California, September 2014
« 6 day Led Intermediate and Primary Series workshop in Encinitas, California, August 2013
« January 29-February 2, 2018, Advanced training with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor
« 5 day Essentials Intensive with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor in Boulder Colorado, January 2014
« 200 hour Ashtanga Teacher Intensive from Richard Freeman‘s Ashtanga Teacher’s Intensive including 4 hour hands on anatomy labs in Boulder Colorado, 2012 with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor
« Week long Yoga Intensive: Buddha and the Yogis: the Vajra Body 2011 in Phoenicia, New York with Richard Freeman, Mary Taylor, John Campbell and Robert Thurman (professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University)
« Week long Ashtanga Mysore study with Rolf and Marci Naujokat in Goa, India, 2011
« 20 hour Intensive Ayurveda Study in Kerala, India, 2009
« 200 hour Ashtanga training with Caroline Klebl in Kerala, India, 2009
I was having a difficult time and generally not content with the way my life was going when a friend recommended ashtanga yoga to me. Knowing I was a member at The Front, she recommended I take a class with Sarah Jane. Naive and clueless as to what I was signing up for, I attended Sarah’s full primary series class, sweated buckets, flounced around, and fell in love with a practice that enhances my life and inspires me everyday.
Since that first class in 2014, I’ve deepened my practice by attending two week-long and one weekend intensive with my guru, Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor, and have practiced daily under the teaching of Sammy and Sarah here at The Front. In November and December of 2016 a dream came true and I practiced and studied under Sharath Jois at the Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Yoga Resarch Institute, the first of what I hope to be yearly trips to India to see my teacher and immerse myself in the discipline.
One of the great privileges of my yoga journey and life is to have been asked to teach alongside my teachers, who enhanced my life so powerfully and positively, in such a vibrant community of climbers, practitioners and fitness enthusiasts at The Front. It’s a joy to share the practice with you all and learn along the way. I hope to continue my studies and practice for many lifetimes.
Daniel Hill discovered his love for yoga while in college in 2008. In 2018, he completed a Yoga Alliance RYS-300 Teacher Training at The Front and began sharing his love and passion for the practice with others.
He continued his yoga education with Richard Freeman & Mary Taylor by attending the five-day Essentials Course in Boulder, Colorado (2019). He studied with Hala Khouri (2019) where he was educated on Trauma Informed Yoga. In October of 2019, Daniel took his first trip to India where he studied Sivananda yoga, Ashtangsa and Ayurveda in Kerela with Robert & Sarah Moses, Dr. Robert Svoboda, Dr. Sarah Pulmer-Holzman, Radhakunda das, Swami Govindanada and Rishi Chaitanya.
Daniel is also the author of the book Pattern Breakers. A guidebook on assisting those in creating healthy patterns, boundaries and cultivate a strong foundation of empathy to assist them in their work and beyond.
Jeff has been a student of yoga since 1970. He started practicing yoga from a book called “Be Here Now”, when a dear friend handed out the book to many of his high school friends. His high was closed down for 6 months due to rioting and racial tensions. He went to talks in NYC as a teenager and eventually studied with his guru Satchidananda. He lived at the Sivananda Ashram in Quebec for 3 months, where he did a teacher training with Vishnudevananda. Since 2000 he has been studying and teaching Ashtanga yoga and has done many teacher trainings. His classes are welcoming to all levels of students. Jeff is 500 EYRT.
Jennalynn Vignogna found yoga about seven years ago while working at a gym in New York. Shortly after, she moved to Florida and began to explore various styles of yoga and developed a daily practice. She was introduced to Ashtanga yoga in 2014 and became fascinated with the elegance of the practice. Upon moving to Utah in 2016, Jenna completed her 200 YTT at The Front in the fall of 2017. Jenna’s hope is to help students use yoga to find grounding and balance in their everyday lives. When Jenna is not teaching or practicing you can find her cooking vegetarian food or outside hiking, biking or snowboarding.
Sammy is a certified yoga therapist by IAYT. He has been studying yoga and eastern philosophy since he was 12 years old and has grown up around practicing yoga and meditation. He has studied such schools as Iyengar, Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Raja Yoga. Sammy spent the past five years living in Mysore India where he studied Ashtanga Yoga at KPJAYI under R. Sharath Jois the grandson of Sri K. Patabbi Jois and is happy to be part of a direct lineage that is traceable to T. Krishnamacharya.
On his 2013 trip, he received his level 2 authorization to teach Ashtanga. He has also studied under other senior teachers such as Tim Miller, and John Friend while continuing an ongoing study with Richard Freeman. Sammy has completed a 300 hour Yoga Therapy course in northern California at the Ananda Seva Ashram and continues to study Ayurveda, alignment, anatomy and both eastern and western philosophy.
Sammy is an E-RYT 500 hour Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Instructor with emphasis in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Yoga Therapy.
Steph Nally found yoga at the age of 14 when her mom became an instructor, but she truly fell in love with the practice when she discovered it for herself at 19 while attending the University of Utah. She completed her 200-hour teacher training a year later, and since then yoga has sneaked its way into every aspect of her life.
She takes every opportunity she can to deepen her understanding of the practice. Most recently she traveled to India for the second time to immerse herself in further training with Kia Miller. She is currently an E-RYT 200, 500-hour teacher through Yoga Alliance, and is dedicated to continuous training.
Steph has a degree in Exercise & Sport Science from the University of Utah and has studied and been influenced by Ashtanga, Hatha, and Kundalini schools. She has a playful approach to yoga, and her intention is to connect you with your breath, alignment and a deep sense of strength you may have forgotten about. Her classes are accessible to all levels and often incorporate arm balances and inversions, basic mantra and aspects of meditation.
“For me yoga has been a journey of curiously exploring my body and mind and the way I subtly shift day to day, hour to hour. My intention is to help you connect to your breath, your intuition and a deep sense of presence that you can take with you out into the world.”