There’s some genius, I believe, in the proper ashtanga vinyasa count, including taking precisely five breaths in each standing and primary pose. This fast pace may be a bit anomalous in the world of yoga/asana, but it works. Before I started adhering to these guidelines, it would take me about an hour and 45 minutes just to complete primary. I would take about six long breaths in each pose, and I would take extra breaths to get into poses–and I usually left practice feeling pretty wiped out. At the time, I suppose, that worked for me. But now I really enjoy flying through my practice at the prescribed pace. I’ve developed a need for speed. Now I’m practicing full primary plus the first few poses of secondary (up to dhanurasana), and I’m spending extra time on backbends, and I’m done in about an hour and a half, with savasana. And I leave the shala feeling GREAT–energetic, clear, light.
I’m really, really enjoying my practice these days. I’m so grateful for ashtanga yoga.