Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
The ashtanga yoga system is an ancient practice that dates back to the time before Buddha, in an unbroken line of teachers. TKV Krishnamacharya learned yoga from his teacher, Rama Mohan Brahmachari, who lived in a cave in the Himalayas. Krishnamacharya and his student, Patthabi Jois, continued to develop the method based on the Yoga Kurunta, an ancient text written by Vamana Rishi. Today Ashtanga Yoga has reached millions of practitioners through the teachings of "guruji", Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. The lineage has been passed down to Guruji's son Manju, his daughter Saraswati, and his grandson Sharath. Every year, hundreds of teachers and practitioners from all over the world come to study at the school that Guruji established in Mysore, India.
The practice begins with a specific sequence of posture (āsanas) that are linked together by synchronyzing breath and movement (vinyāsa). Each sequence begins with sun salutations, then progresses through standing and seated postures, and finishes with restoratives (viparīta karaṇī). The heart of this practice is smooth, even breathing (ujjāyī) integrated with core strength (bandhas) and steady gazing (dṛṣṭi), which creates an experience of continuity and stability throughout the sequence. When properly done, this method purifies and strengthens the body while settling and focusing the mind.
There are six sequences in this system: Primary (roga cikitsā - disease therapy), Intermediate (nāḍī śodhana - channel cleanse), and Advanced A, B, C & D (sthira bhāga - that which develops firmness).
The term vinyāsa refers to the synchronizing of movement and breath which connects postures into a dynamic flow. The length of one inhale or one exhale determines the time spent transitioning between postures. Poses are then held for a predefined number of breath. The method of the practice is to follow a specific sequence of postures which must be accomplished before proceeding to the next.
Each posture works like an internal lock which builds and prepares the practitioner for the next posture. The practice purifies the blood, internal organs and glands.
While performing postures the circulatory system is rejuvinated. Through the sweat, impurities and diseases caused by over-indulgence are removed.
Vinyāsa creates the foundation for these changes to occur. Once the physical body has been purified through the primary series, it is also possible to purify the nervous system and sense organs, through the subsequent series.
By practicing with faith and dedication over a long period of time, the practitioner frees himself from physical disabilities and mental distractions.
Refers to the three points of attention/action that is utilized in Ashtanga yoga consisting of: posture (āsana) together with core stength (bandhas), smooth even breathing (ujjāyi) and gazing (dṛṣṭi). The three connections allow the practitioner to enter into a state of conciousness between mind, body and spirit. When properly done a deeper mental purification and awakening are revealed.
Eight Limbs Of Yoga
The sage Patanjali, compiler of the Yoga Sūtras, collected treatises of aphorism on yoga practice and philosophy. Patanjali presented a teaching that focuses on realization of the inner most conscious self. The path of yoga as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sūtras is: