Ashtanga Yoga is a traditional Hatha Yoga system and if practiced in its correct method it will lead the practicioner to explore his full potential as human being.
Through the practice of correct breathing (Ujjayi Pranayama), postures (asanas), and gazing point (dristi), we learn to control our senses and will explore a deep awareness of our selves. By maintaining this discipline continiously, steadiness of body and mind will arise.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, his students called him lovingly “Guruji” developed this method in Mysore, South India.
Nowadays his grandson Sharath is the director of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute KPJAYI.
Sharath grew up in the house of his grandfather, a guru and Brahmin priest and he learned from him till the day he died in the year 2009.
“Ashtanga” literally means eight limbs. They are described by Patanjali as: Yama (abstinences), Niyama (observances), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (contemplation). These branches support each other. Asana practice must be established for proper practice of pranayama and is the key to the development of the yamas and niyamas. Once these four externally oriented limbs are firmly rooted, the last four internally oriented limbs will spontaneously evolve over time.
“Vinyasa” means breath synchronized with movement. The breath is the heart of this discipline and links asana to asana in a precise order. By synchronizing movement with breathing and practicing Mula and Uddiyana Bandhas (locks), an intense internal heat is produced. This heat purifies our muscles and organs. The breath also regulates the vinyasa and ensures efficient circulation of blood. The result is a light, strong body.
Each asana is to be fully developed before proceeding to the next, and the sequential order of asanas is to be meticulously followed. Each posture is a preparation for the next, developing the strength and balance required to move further.
The deep, even breathing cannot be overemphasized in the Ashtanga Yoga system. When the breath initiates the movement, and the movement leads to the posture, each movement becomes gentle, precise, and perfectly steady.
Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally taught in the so-called Mysore style.
*** Please note the importance of learning the Ashtanga method only from a traditionally trained teacher. Only a qualified teacher can provide the necessary guidance to assure safe, steady progress without injury to body or mind.