Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a system or method which is thought in Mysore city in southern India, in country Karantaka, by yoga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
The physical aspect of Ashtanga yoga is based in ancient material, mainly Yoga Korunti.
Yoga master Sri.T. Krishnamacharya have take over this method from his spiritual teacher Rame Mahan Brahmachari.
Sri.T. Krishnamacharya is also known as a father of modern yoga, which later he turned over to his bellowed pupil and student Sri K. Pattabhi Jois-u.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois has, through many rigorous years of yoga practice and learning with his teacher and also studying old Indian materials at the university, developed Ashtanga yoga system as is known today.
At the same time, after studying, he becomes a teacher at university, where he thought yoga knowledge.
Meaning of Ashtanga yoga in Sanskrit language is “eight partial yoga« (eight means »astau«).
It refers to the sutra Patanyali yoga (aphorism), to yoga psychology and eight parts or eight levels, which are leading to the path of your-own-accomplishment.
There eight steps are:
- Yame ( 5 principles of self-controlling)
- Niyame ( 5 principles of self-observing and discipline)
- Asana ( body positions)
- Pranayama (breath control and breathing)
- Pratyahara (emotions control and to look into yourself)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation) and
- Samadhi (contemplation and self-realizing / to reach your goals).
The system of Ashtanga yoga is primary focused on the third stage of Patanyali yoga and asana. A regular and consistent practice, which enables us better understanding of first two steps of yoga practice.
Moreover this will with the time become base for advanced practice for Ashtanga yoga. Individual and mentally awareness of yoga teaches us gradually about practical applications yam and niyam. Without them, yoga is just another way of physical recreation or relaxation.
But don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing bad with that. The important thing is, that every individual listen to himself, and his body. … and on the end, to not forget to thank your body for doing asanas the best he could.
For Ashtanga yoga is significant so called Vinyasa, which means the relationship between movement and breathing. Each ansana (yoga position) have defined number of vinyasa (movements and breathings), with which we go into or finishing the pose.
During the practice is very important that we keep focus on tristhana and focused on the three points of the mind as follows: proper yoga position (asana), breath focus (pranayama) and point-oriented view ( drishti).
The effects of ujjayi breathe are; strong concentration and mental focus, strong internal heat which accelerate the elimination of body toxins or material surplus through accelerated sweating.
All this brings ease to the body and clear-headed thoughts.
Besides tristhane there are also important accurate and whole exercises.
During the exercise we should pay attention to energetic barriers, also named Bandhas. If you are beginner with Ashtanga yoga I would very much recommend visiting yoga studio, where you will learn about proper breathing, which is main thing with Ashtanga – and also with practice you will automatically learn to work on bandhas, as a lot of pupils forget to work on them.
Just a short explanation about bandhas – to activate and work on bandhas during your practice, you will manage to keep good energy which your bodies produce with yoga practice. Try and you will feel the difference.
Moreover, is very important to do your practice correctly – if asanas are not done properly, you can do more hard to your body then good. Therefore, listen to me, and start doing your home practice after you visit yoga studio for practice.
A bit more about asana – Asana is traditionally divided into three or more accurate six final components.
The first or also called primary series (Yoga Chikitsa or “yoga therapy”) has a strong effect on refining the body, then also stimulates and regulates function of vital organs and very important endocrine system. With practice we also develop strength and flexibility for physical and mental body.
The second or intermediate series (Nadi Shodana) has influence on n strengthening and smooth functioning of nervous system, also effect the vital energy flow, also named Pranayama. Furthermore also have influence on mental body, our consciousness and balances emotions or emotion.
Advanced series (Sthira Bhaga) is divided into A, B, C and D, often marked also with numbers from 3 to 6. These are advanced levels, which contain more complex asanas. This requires a lot of patience, modesty, higher awareness and inner strength.
With advance practice are developing vigorous aspects of yoga practice, and there a few of them who gain that state.
Maybe I haven’t mentioned before, but Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is recommended for those, who have already practice yoga before (hate yoga, kundalini or have some experience with meditation – is definitely not recommended for beginners in yoga).
I recommend starting learning certain series step by step, and please do not rush your body into asanas, rather wait and listen to your body, and you will know when to continue in more difficult position.
To conquest one series from above mentioned, could take few years, depending of your body, your discipline and practice. Everyone has its own way. But on the end… we are the one, that all depends on; also from our body and mental discipline, which we put into our yoga practice.
During practice we need to strive to correct performance of asanas and higher integration before mentioned techniques and elements of asanas. With correct asana performance is developed ability of higher mental focus, concentration and meditation.
More important than acquisition of doing certain asanas is regular exercise and our effort, which we put into. Due to the complexity of doing certain asanas yet first series sometime represents a big challenge. It could be for few years or for eternal. To continue on next series should be gradual and in accordance with our yoga teacher.
Traditionally Ashtanga yoga have been daily practice, which has been performed in the morning and at the sunrise, six days in a week, except Sunday and when there was a fool moon or no moon. Since Ashtanga yoga is quite physically hard, we can do practice as our body tells us (you can adjust it to your daily activity).
Daily exercise allows us that our body gets used to certain level of physical activity and over the time it becomes less strenuous exercise. It daily reinforces self-reflection and self discipline, which consequently means higher self-awareness and our surroundings.
Today, most Ashtanga practitioners aim to exercise every day with one day break. Doing exercise at changing moon positions is also your personal decision.
As I mentioned before, is much recommended for beginners to practice at yoga studio, where you will gain basic knowledge of performing asanas. Later on, you can start with Mysore practice (individual practice in group) also at yoga studio or try out group practice.