In the tradition of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
Ashtanga Yoga is an effective system to grow the physical, mental and spiritual level, which enables us to achieve more strength and flexibility. The system of Ashtanga Yoga was founded by Sri K. Patthabi Jois, and passed on to him by his teacher T. Krishnamacharya.
Sri K. Pattabhi and Manju P. Jois (his eldest son and student) brought this form of Yoga to the American West Coast in 1975. In the past 35 years Ashtanga Yoga spread worldwide and found more and more enthusiastic students. Sri K. Pathabbi Jois was teaching in Mysore, India and on several world tours until his death in May 2009.
The Ashtanga Yoga system consists of three sequences or series. The “Primary Series” (Yoga Chikitsa) detoxifies and aligns the body. The “Intermediate Series” (Nadi Shodana) purifies the nervous system by means of opening and releasing the energy channels. The Advanced Series A, B, C, and D (Shtira Baga) integrate the strength and grace of the practice, requiring higher physical levels of flexibility and strength. The breath is continuously and deep during the whole practice. Even breathing cannot be overemphasized in the Ashtanga Yoga system. When breath feeds into action, and action improves posture, each movement becomes gentle, precise, and perfectly steady.
Vinyasa is the synchronization between movement and breathing. Drishti is the focus point. Bandhas are energetic locks within the body. This muscular work will help to regulate the flow of prana.
Practising the sequences in the correct order with the help of vinyasa, breathing and using the bandhas results in the production of intensive internal warmth. This heat purifies muscles and organs, expelling unwanted toxins as well as releasing beneficial hormones and minerals. Ashtanga Yoga is quite a demanding practice. Strength, stamina and sweat are unique aspects of this Yoga tradition. This seems contrary to Western thinking about yoga. The result of this practice is a strong, flexible and relaxed body and a clear mind. Ashtanga Yoga gradually leads the practitioner to rediscover and realize his or her fullest potential on all levels of human consciousness – physical, psychological and spiritual. By means of this practice we gain control of the senses and a deep awareness of ourselves. By maintaining this discipline with regularity and devotion, one acquires steadiness of body and mind.
“If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter – if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self.” Sri K. Patthabi Jois