Astanga Guided Primary
Ashtanga Yoga, as developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, of Mysore, South India, is a dynamic and physically demanding style of yoga that emphasizes the synchronization of breath and movement. This style of yoga is known for its structured and systematic approach to practice, focusing on a set sequence of postures, breath control (pranayama), and a specific gaze point (dristi).
Historical Background: Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, an Indian yoga teacher, developed Ashtanga Yoga in the early 20th century. He learned the system from his guru, T. Krishnamacharya, and later refined and popularized it worldwide.
Eight Limbs of Yoga: Astanga Yoga is derived from the classical eight-limbed path outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. The practice of 8 Limbs includes Yamas & Niyamas (lifestyle principles), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breath control), and the 4 phases of meditation: Pratyahara (sense control), Dharana (concentration techniques), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (mind merging).
Tristhana: A unique feature of Ashtanga Yoga is the concept of Tristhana, which involves the synchronization of three key elements: breath (Ujjayi pranayama), bandhas (energy locks), and gaze (dristi). The integration of these three components enhances concentration and create a meditative state during the practice.
Asana Sequence: The practice consists of a set series of postures organized into six series (Primary, Intermediate, and Advanced A, B, C, D). Each series has a specific purpose and builds upon the previous one, with the Primary Series focusing on detoxification and alignment.
Vinyasa and Breath: Astanga Yoga is characterized by its emphasis on Vinyasa, the linking of breath with movement. Each movement is coordinated with either an inhalation or exhalation, creating a flowing and dynamic practice. The breath, known as Ujjayi pranayama, is audible and helps generate internal heat.
Mysore Style: Astanga Yoga is typically taught in a Mysore style class, where students practice the series at their own pace under the guidance of a teacher. This self-paced approach allows for individualized instruction and personal progression.
Discipline and Regular Practice: Discipline and regular practice are fundamental tenets of Ashtanga Yoga. The system encourages practitioners to commit to a consistent practice, ideally six days a week. The repetition of the sequence is believed to purify the body and mind over time.
Philosophical Foundations: While Astanga Yoga is primarily a physical practice, it is rooted in traditional yogic philosophy. The emphasis on breath, concentration, and disciplined practice is seen as a means to cultivate a meditative and self-aware state.
It’s important to note that the practice of Ashtanga Yoga can be physically demanding, and practitioners are encouraged to approach it with patience and respect for their own bodies. As with any form of physical activity, individuals should consult with a qualified instructor.