The Unique Benefits of Ashtanga, Hatha & Restorative Yoga: Three New Programs at Mind the Mat

Can I just brag for a moment and say that Mind the Mat has some of the very best yoga and Pilates teachers around? I can say that knowing Mind the Mat would not be what it is just because Megan and I own it, but is an amazing place because of all of the highly skilled, caring, and passionate instructors who teach there. Megan and I are always developing new programs and offerings at Mind the Mat based on two things: the unique expertise of our instructors and the specific needs of our clients.

That is why we have programs for pregnant women and women post-baby and students new to yoga & Pilates and for clients with specific conditions such as osteoporosis, back pain and recent surgery, along with other special conditions, high stress, and symptoms of hormone imbalance or menopause.

As you might know, the weekly drop-in yoga classes we offer at Mind the Mat are primarily Vinyasa style, otherwise known as Flow Yoga. Online, you can always find our extensive schedule for various levels of Flow Yoga: heated and non-heated classes.

Right now, we want to introduce you to THREE NEW YOGA PROGRAMS: Ashtanga Vinyasa, Hatha Yoga, and Restorative Yoga.

Ashtanga Vinyasa

Ashtanga is similar to Vinyasa (Flow Yoga) in that breath is linked with movement. The difference is that Ashtanga is done in a particular sequence, repeated during each class until the teacher determines that the students are ready to advance to the next level. Although the physical practice is challenging, the intention of the repeated series is to learn proper fluid breath and movement within each posture and in transition from one posture to the next. Ashtanga is great for students who are interested in a  practice that succeeds in bringing students a deep understanding of each pose before advancing onward.

Check out our Intro to Ashtanga 4 Week Specialized Series with Marina Davidson starting on June 9

Many of your favorite Mind the Mat teachers practice Ashtanga as their own personal yoga practice and are passionate about this unique style of yoga. If you’ve seen Kevin Castillo teach, you know his yoga is beyond graceful. Here’s what he has to say about his personal practice:

“My personal practice consists primarily of Traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa and Rocket Ashtanga Vinyasa and are based on the eight limbs of yoga. ‘Ashta’ means eight. These practices help me to create length and build strength in my body, while also challenging me to be present in each and every moment of my practice. Through yoga I’ve been able to find control over the movements that I make, which helps me to move intentionally from posture to posture and also be more aware of my thoughts moment to moment as I move.”

Check out Kevin’s FREE Hot Rocket Flow class coming up at 11:15am on June 2 at our Clarendon, Arlington location. Rocket Vinyasa was created by changing the Ashtanga Vinyasa sequence a bit by blending simple and advanced poses in one class, rather than starting with simple and moving to advanced over time as Ashtanga does.

Here Kevin is pictured with another amazing instructor, Julia Chin, who teaches Ashtanga Vinyasa Fridays at 6:30pm at our Clarendon, Arlington location.


Then there’s Georgia. Enough said. Those of you who know her know she’s a yoga queen. Here’s what she says about her personal practice:

“My personal yoga practice consists of 5-6 days a week Mysore, which follows the Ashtanga method. With consistent daily practice I am stronger, more flexible, and have increased stamina. With the same routine everyday I can easily spot what I need to work on and am able to see myself grow. One day a posture or bind seems impossible the next day I get it. A week later I can’t even recall not being able to do it. Establishing a routine and practicing at a consistent time every day helps me stay on track. I like to practice first thing in the morning so I am not distracted by other things life throws my way.”

Check out Georgia’s Hot Ashtanga Vinyasa Wednesdays at 9:30am at our Del Ray, Alexandria location.


Hatha Yoga

In Hatha Yoga, postures are held and released and there are minimal transitions from one pose to the next, making this class accessible to all levels. It emphasizes physical health and mental well being through the practice of held postures to tone and build strength and flexibility. By incorporating breath and meditation techniques, Hatha Yoga aims for a healthy body and peaceful mind. It can be done in a heated or non-heated room

Our Hatha Yoga classes are taught by a much-loved instructor, Deb Jackson. Those who know her can confirm that this goddess walks her talk. She explains her personal practice in these words:

“On and off the mat yoga, helps me be mindful, focused, and peaceful. I practice Ahimsa (non-harming) in all the ways that I can. I start most days with meditation and I move through postures in a gentle way while breathing deeply. Yoga has enriched my life in so many ways. It keeps me healthy, strong, and constantly learning. I am fascinated by the vast knowledge that the science of yoga offers.”

Check out Deb’s Hatha Yoga and Hot Hatha Yoga schedule.


Restorative Yoga

Restorative Yoga focuses on deep relaxation and stress release. Yoga poses are held and clients are supported with various props to facilitate the release of tension from mind and body on a deep level. At times, guided relaxation and/or essential oils are incorporated.

Remember the goddess mentioned above? Deb Jackson teaches Restorative Yoga every Wednesday at 6:30pm at our Del Ray, Alexandria location. She also teaches a monthly Yin Yoga workshop, which is another deeply rejuvenating yoga practice.

I teach a monthly Restorative Yoga workshop for seasonal wellness. The next one is coming up on July 21: Summer Restorative Yoga with Essential Oils. Also try out my yoga and acupuncture workshop coming up on June 29: Amplify Your Savasana, which incorporates many restorative yoga principles.


Have you ever thought of learning to teach yoga?

Have you always wanted to find a special niche? Have you always wanted to teach a certain type of yoga
or work with a special population of people?

Check out our upcoming Yoga Teacher Training Summer Immersion and Fall 6-Month Programs.
Free Q & A Sessions are coming up on June 2 at 12:15pm (Alexandria) and June 12, 7pm (Arlington).
Come ask all your questions!


  • The latest from Sara
co-owner, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500 | Mind the Mat
Sara VanderGoot, CMT, e-RYT 200, RYT 500, is Co-founder of Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga and Director of Mind the Mat Yoga Alliance certified teacher training program. Sara is an experienced Registered Yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. She studied Interdisciplinary Yoga with Don and Amba Stapleton in Nosara, Costa Rica and at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Sara is Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, licensed by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Sara has been practicing massage therapy, including specialties Prenatal Massage, Postpartum Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and Thai Yoga Massage, in Del Ray, Alexandria for over 15 years and a yoga instructor for 7 years. At Mind the Mat she specializes in Prenatal Yoga, Postpartum Core Yoga, Mommy and Me Core Yoga, Partners Yoga, and Hot Flow Yoga. Sara frequently acts as a birth companion for many of her clients, doing massage and yoga during labor and delivery to facilitate comfort during both medicated and unmedicated births. Before becoming a massage therapist and yoga instructor, she was a lawyer in the Washington D.C. area and found that the healing practices of massage and yoga brought a balance to her life that she had been searching for.

Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.

Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.     

2214 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get your daily dose of all things fashion, beauty, fitness, and design. Locally sourced and locally styled!