Ashtanga Yoga is a traditional Hatha Yoga system. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois developed it in Mysore South India. His students called him lovingly “Guruji.”
Now this system is taught by his daughter Saraswati and his grandson Sharathis. Today Sharath is the director of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute KPJAYI.
Sharath is Guruji’s most experienced student. He grew up in the house of his grandfather, a guru, and learned from him till the day he died in 2009. Sharath and his mother Saraswati inherited the tradition of Vinyasa-Karma, the step-by-step building.
Ashtanga yoga is the practice of the “eight-sections” yoga paths, ashtau meaning eight and andga meaning sections.
This holistic practice system brings to balance the body, breath and spirit, making them more resistant to stress and any disturbing factors of every day life.
These eight sections can be seem as stepping stones, which gently lead us closer to our true being.
YAMA is the inner attitude towards people and everything around us.
NIYAMA is the inner attitude to us.
ASANA is the posture education and awareness.
PRANAYAMA is the relaxation breathing and the learning of breathing techniques, which help us to stabilize the spirit and the mind
PRATYAHARA is the withdrawal from the senses and the learning of establishing a connection with the in inner being.
DHARANA is the concentration and the spirit alignment.
DHYANA is meditation, to open and awake in one self.
SAMADHI is to come to oneself, be here, and perceive without appreciating.
For Pattabhi Jois is the 3 sections – Asanas or body postures the entry into the yoga practice. We live in an outward-facing “physical” world therefore the entrance into Ashtanga Yoga is also a physical one. If one maintains this practice with regularity and devotion, the balance between of body and spirit will constantly develop.
Ashtanga Yoga is a fixed and dynamic sequence of Asanas or body postures, which is synchronized with the breath.
The synchronization of breath and movement is called Vinyasa.
With the development of the ability to establish a long and deep breath, while integrating the energetic muscle work (Bandhas) and a focused attention (Drishti), the mind becomes calm and concentrated. The thoughts are decelerated and every movement flows gently and precisely from one Asana to the next.
When breathing and movement flow together without effort and in harmony, the practice transforms the awareness and it becomes a meditation in movement. On the physical level, heavy sweating cleans the body and toxins are eliminated.
Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally taught in the so-called Mysore style.
You can find more information about Ashtanga Yoga here: www.kpjayi.org
Mysore Style is the traditional method of learning Ashtanga Yoga from South India, Mysore. It is a unique and powerful way to build a yoga practice. Individual growth is encouraged and gently supported.
Beginners and advanced learners practice side by side. Everyone practices in hers or his own breath rhythm. The teacher supports the students by introducing them individually to the Sun Greeting and building the further yoga practice on it. The Asanas or body postures from the Ashtanga series are taught one by one.
This is why the practice will initially involve only a few Asanas and it will become more comprehensive and longer with time. The goal is to stay with oneself, to exercise one’s own limits, to train the physical perception and not to compare with the others.
Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally practiced early in the morning when body and mind are still fresh and untroubled by everyday life. The pure morning air, according to Indian philosophy, is particularly strongly filled with Prana – the life energy.
In order to develop a safe and stable yoga practice, it is recommended to practice several times a week. At first, it is recommended to practice 2 to 3 times a week and to gradually expand. The goal is to integrate the independent yoga praxis into daily life.
Mysore classes are suitable for all interested. Beginners are as welcome as advanced students.
Like everything in life, exercise makes the master. Another guiding principle is: better to practice often and just a little, rather than rarely and in big amounts!