Brilliant Light shines forth from the Ancient teachings
ROOTED IN TRADITION
This dynamic, physically demanding practice synchronizes breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body.The ultimate purpose of the Ashtanga practice is purification of the body and mind. By moving so quickly and powerfully, you will get a lot of tapas and everything extra, physical and mental, will have to get out the way. This practice has a strong sense of purpose and you are forced to focus and grow.The Ashtanga Yoga system is a living lineage that dates back thousands of years in an unbroken line of teachers, sages and gurus that culminates in the life of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, his grandson R.Sharath Jois and every Ashtanga practitioner that adheres to this legacy today. This direct transmission of knowledge from teacher to student is known as “parampara” and contains unparalleled wisdom.
The foundation of Ashtanga yoga is breath (incorporating bandhas or locks), asana (poses) and drsti (gazing point). Moving with the breath, or vinyasa, is central to the practice. In each pose there is a specific gaze, which among other things helps to concentrate the focus within and cultivate a steady mind.
One traditionally learns Ashtanga yoga in ‘Mysore-style’ classes where students of all levels gather to practice simultaneously, each assisted individually by the teacher. Mysore is the city in India where the Ashtanga Yoga Institute is and where R.Sharath Jois teaches. ‘Mysore-style’ is self-practice where the poses are given one-by-one by the teacher until the student reaches a pose that is challenging for them, which is where they might stay for a while. The ordering of the sequence to systematically unlock the body and the personal relationship with the teacher keeps the practice safe. It is unique in that each student inhabits their own practice starting wherever they are, guided by the teacher and empowered to move with their own breath amidst a supportive collective silence. Students receive much individual attention and adjustment from the teacher, and this bond is a pillar of the practice. Led classes typically occur once a week where students all move together, guided by the teacher counting each vinyasa in Sanskrit.
Pattabhi Jois was fond of saying that anyone can practice Ashtanga Yoga: the young, old, very old, sick and weak. The only people who cannot practice Ashtanga Yoga are lazy people! Dedication, Determination, Discipline and Devotion are required.
With sincere effort and daily practice, Ashtanga yoga brings the body and mind to a state of peace and stability that ultimately leads to greater spiritual awareness and liberation.