Ashtanga Yoga The Ashtanga Yoga system is a living lineage that dates back nearly five thousand years in an unbroken line of teachers, sages and gurus that has reached millions of practitioners through the inspirational life of Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois. It is now continued and honored by his grandson R. Sharath Jois and his daughter Saraswati at the source in the the Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India. Ashtanga Yoga Ireland teaches yoga in this pure lineage and we are happy to connect you with this ancient practice.
Ashtanga Yoga’s Vinyasa system is a series of sequences of postures that vary in difficulty and benefit. The flow between each posture is an integral part of the practice. Each series of postures must be accomplished before proceeding to the next. The sequential process of learning Ashtanga allows the practitioner to develop the concentration, strength, flexibility and stamina needed to progress in a safe, balanced and optimal manner. Postures are linked together through flowing movement (vinyasa). Vinyasa means synchronized breath with movement. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body and a calm mind.
There are six series in Ashtanga Yoga: The Primary Series, Yoga Chikitsa, detoxifies and realigns the body. The Intermediate Series, Nadi Shodhana, purifies the nervous system, opening up for more subtle experiences of our energies and mind. The Advanced Series A, B, C and D,Sthira Bhaga, literally meaning strength and grace, requiring higher levels of humility and dedication. Each series of postures must be accomplished before proceeding to the next. The practice is cumulative and it is essential to follow the order of postures (asanas) meticulously as each individual asana builds on the previous one and prepares practitioners for the next. Each asana, or group of asanas, has a specific effect that is counter balanced by the previous asana, or group of asanas.
Breathing cannot be overemphasized in the Ashtanga system. The breath is the key to the realm of tranquility and power and with it we can regulate and control our nervous system. The breath is the door between our body and our mind, the portal between meditation and asana practice.
Postures are linked together through flowing movement called Vinyasa. Vinyasa means synchronized movement with breath. In Ashtanga Yoga the movement is always synchronized with the breath and there is no separation between the two actions. When the synchronization of movement and breathing is an integral part of the yoga practice and the three body locks (Moolabandha, Udiyanabandha and jalandarabandha) are applied, an internal, purifying heat is generated in the body. Unwanted toxins are released and disposed of, vital hormones and minerals flow into the bloodstream and the nervous system is purified. The result is a light and strong body.
Ashtanga Yoga utilizes a three-pronged approach called Trishtana. Tri means three in Sanskrit and Sthana means standing place. Trishthana is breathing, posture and gazing point. This method enables practitioners to develop steadiness of both the body and mind.
Drsti means gazing point. There are nine drstis in the Ashtanga practice. With time and patience the correct drsti for each asana Is learned which improves concentration and brings a sense of oneness during the practice.
- Urdhve: up to space
- Brumadhye: third eye
- Nasagre: tip of the nose
- Parsvayoh: right side
- Parsvayoh: left side
- Nabhou: navel
- Hastagre: tip of the middle finger
- Angusthagre: tip of the thumb
- Padagre: tip of the big toe
Bandhas (valves or internal locks): Moolabandha, Uddiyananbandha and Jalandarabandha helps to integrate both the physical and energetic bodies. Through the use of these three bandhas the body comes together in to one entity, creating flow and grace. The bandhas accumulate the generation of purifying heat for the body and a strong mental focus.