Welcome to the Most Extensive Ashtanga Yoga Program in Utah
The Front Climbing Club offers a variety of yoga classes, including the only full Mysore program and the largest selection of Ashtanga Yoga classes in Utah and the state’s only authorized Ashtanga teachers, Samuel Brown and Sarah Jane Burkholz.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga has 6 sequences of postures, each with around 30 different sitting asanas (postures). All sequences start with Surya Namaskars (sun salutations) and the same core postures. Each sequence ends with backbends and the same finishing sequence 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 and jumps. These 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.
Meet the Yogis
Sarah Jane has been studying and practicing Ashtanga Yoga since 1998 and teaching at The Front since 2009. Among her studies have been:
« December 2019: Received Authorization level 2 to teach Ashtanga Yoga from Guru R. Sharath Jois, Sharath Yoga Center, Mysore India
« December 2019 & January 2020: 2 month Ashtanga Yoga Study at Sharath Yoga center in Mysore, India with Guru R. Sharath Jois and 2 month Sanskrit, chanting and yoga philosophy study with Lakshmisha Bhat
« Month-long Ashtanga Yoga and Sanskrit study at KPJAYI in Mysore, India with Guru Sharath Jois, March 2019
« Namarupa Yatra with Paramaguru Sharath R. Jois and Eddie Stern, Himalayas, India, October 2018
« 5 day Advanced Training with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor in Boulder CO, February 2018
« 6 day led Intermediate and Primary Series Workshop and conferences with R. Sharath Jois in Los Angeles, California, 2017
« Month long study at Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute with R. Sharath Jois, Mysore, India, 2016
« Sanskrit 1&2 and Bhagavad Gita study, KPJAYI, Mysore, India 2016
« 6 day Led Intermediate and Primary Series Workshop with R. Sharath Jois, Los Angeles, 2016
« 5 day Essentials Intensive with Richard Freeman, Boulder Colorado, 2014
« 6 day Led Intermediate and Primary Series workshop with R. Sharath Jois, Los Angeles, 2014
« 5 Day Led Intermediate and Primary Series workshop with R. Sharath Jois, Encinitas, 2013
« 200 hour Ashtanga Teacher’s Intensive including 4 hour hands-on anatomy lab with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor, Boulder Colorado, 2012
« Month long Sanskrit Study with Marcia Solomon, Boulder Colorado, 2012
« Week long Yoga Intensive: Buddha and the Yogis with Richard Freeman, Mary Taylor, John Campbell and Robert Thurman, Phoenicia, New York, 2011
« Week long study with Rolf and Marci Naujokat in Goa, India, 2011
« 20 hour Intensive Ayurveda Study, Kerala, India, 2009
« 200 hour Ashtanga Teacher Training with Caroline Klebl, Kerala, India, 2009
“I have a deep love for Ashtanga Yoga. I am so grateful to be part of a lineage that has brought awareness, abundance, harmony, discipline, and health to my life. I want to help others find an enjoyment of this lifelong practice that can fit into practically anyone’s life, no matter the condition of their body.”
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.
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.
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.