Practicing Ashtanga Yoga


Yoga is a philosophy of life, which also has the potential to create a vibrantly healthy body and mind.

Sri K Pattabhi Jois

Ashtanga yoga is a vigorous and dynamic practice developed by Sri K Pattabhi Jois following his studies with Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the 1930′s. An eminent yoga teacher from Mysore in India, whose many students called him Guruji. Ashtanga Yoga is an unvarying sequence of physically demanding poses, called asanas, combined with flowing movements, or vinyasas, and deep, rhythmic breathing. Ideally, the set sequence of moves are completed at your own pace, while the teacher offers “adjustments” to improve the poses. There are six sequences of poses, with most students practicing the primary and intermediate series.

It is thought that the sequences were developed by Krishnamacharya, who based the physical postures on the remains of a 2000-year-old manuscript which he found in Calcutta’s library. He believed it to contain postures referenced by the Sage Patanjali in a centuries-old text called the Yoga Sutras. These sequences have continued to be taught in Mysore, at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, by Pattabhi Jois’ grandson Sharath Rangaswamy.

The first series (Yoga Chikitsa) is described as a therapeutic system, made up of about 70 poses asanas all linked by flowing vinyasas, it is designed to strengthen and detoxify the body. Beginning with sun salutations (Surya Namaskra A & B), the practice then moves through a series of standing postures, then seated postures culminating in backbends before the finishing sequence of postures which include shoulder and headstands.

Anyone can practice,
Young man can practice,
Old man can practice,
Very old man can practice,
Man who is sick, he can practice,
Man who doesn’t have strength, he can practice,
Except lazy people, lazy people can’t practice.

Sharath Rangaswamy