A powerful practice to heal and transform
Ashtanga is a dynamic practice to build strength, stamina and improve flexibility. The method involves synchronising the breath with a progressive series of postures (asanas) which creates an internal heat. This will release toxins, improve circulation and create calmness of the mind.
The Ashtanga Yoga system consists of three sequences or series. The “Primary Series” (Yoga Chikitsa) detoxifies and aligns the entire body. The “Intermediate Series” (Nadi Shodana) purifies the nervous system by means of opening and releasing the energy channels. The Advanced Series A, B, C, and D (Shtira Baga) integrate the strength and grace of the practice, requiring higher physical levels of flexibility and strength.
Vinyasa means breath synchronised movement. Each move connects with an inhale or exhale directing the internal energy in the most beneficial way. Vinyasa’s form the link in between asanas and combined with the correct breathing the practice becomes a dynamic flow of postures. Practising the sequences in the correct order with the help of vinyasa’s will unlock the healing and transformative power of Ashtanga.
inhalation – exhalation
Breathing cannot be overemphasized in the Ashtanga Yoga system. The breath is continuously and deep during the whole practice and ensures efficient circulation of blood. The sound of the breath keeps the mind focused and is a useful indication of the quality of the practice. When breath feeds into action, and action improves posture, each movement becomes gentle and one will acquire steadiness of the body and mind.
drishti & bandhas
Drishti is a soft focused gaze. Each posture has a particular drishti which increases concentration (dharana) and helps to withdrawal our senses (prtyahara) from outside distraction. It enhances the physical practice by directing the energy in a focused way, controls the wandering mind and directs it inwards. Bandhas are energetic locks within the body which help to regulate the flow of prana – life energy. The most important bandhas in Ashtanga Yoga are Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha. Learning to engage the bandhas takes time and practice.
Ashtana – a system of 8 limbs
Ashtanga literally means eight limbs which are described by the Sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.
- Yama (moral codes)
- Niyama (self purification with discipline)
- Asana (postures)
- Pranayama (breath control)
- Pratyahara (Sense withdrawal)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadi (superconsiousness)
These branches support and reinforce each other. Asana practice must be established for proper practice of Pranayama. Yama and Niyama are integral part of the method and eventually flow into all areas of life. Once the first four limbs are firmly rooted, the last four, which are internally oriented limbs, can evolve.