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The Indian yogic tradition is several thousand years old and incorporates various schools of thought and practices. However, much of the yoga practised in Europe, the United States and Australia is derived from one particular tradition called Hatha Yoga.

Specific physical exercises are performed to strengthen and cleanse the body in order to promote mental clarity and spiritual insights. A key Hatha Yoga teacher this century was Krishnamacharya (1891-1989); some of his most influential students (as far as western yoga is concerned) include his son Desikachar, who developed Viniyoga; B.K.S. Iyengar, whose Institute in Poona has trained many European and American teachers; and Sri K Pattabhi Jois, the living master of Astanga. Together with his grandson Sharath, Pattabhi Jois was teaching at his Institute in Mysore until his death on May 18th 2009. For more information please see India, yoga is predominantly viewed as a spiritual discipline. Both Pattabhi Jois, in his book Yoga Mala, and Iyengar, in his book Light on Yoga, emphasise that observance of a moral code and mental discipline should precede the practice of yoga postures and breathing. Indeed, the word ‘Astanga’ literally translates as eight limbed and refers to the eight components of the yogic path laid out by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras (200 A.D.). These include ethical disciplines, self-observation, posture, breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation and equanimity. However, in Europe and America, yoga is commonly adopted to facilitate health and fitness.

Initially therefore emphasis is placed on postures and breath control as a means of enhancing strength and flexibility. It is only subsequently that regular practitioners discover the subtle effects that yoga has on all aspects of life. A greater awareness of the body also causes the practitioner to become increasingly sensitive to the impact of their actions and lifestyle on their encompassing social and natural environment.

Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic form of yoga in which asanas are linked in a flowing sequence through careful synchronisation of deep, regular breathing that uses the whole lung capacity. The standing asanas particularly focus the practitioner’s awareness on balancing weight equally on both legs, extending the spine and opening out the chest. This in turn encourages the practitioner to breathe more fully and to release tension in the neck.

Emphasis is paid to the gaze, or dristi, and so in each posture the gaze rests softly on a particular point. This encourages focused attention and a quiet mind. Finally practitioners are encouraged to apply internal locks, or bandhas, the most important of which is the moola bandha. Here the muscles of the perineum are subtly drawn upwards, thus sealing the energy within the body and guarding against injury of the lower back and groin. The bandhas, ujjayi breath and flowing sequence of asanas combine to create considerable internal heat which increases physical flexibility and facilitates internal purification through the sweating out of toxins.

The physical benefits of regular Astanga practice include improved circulation, increased oxygenation of the blood, greater strength and flexibility in muscles (especially core muscles) as well as spinal flexibility and improved posture. In the USA scientific research projects are underway to investigate the effects of yoga on specific ailments. For example, the National Centre for Complementary medicine is funding research into whether yoga can alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Research conducted by the Northern Colorado Allergy and Asthma Clinic suggests that yoga not only increases oxygen levels in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease but also alleviates symptoms in asthma patients (reported in Yoga Journal, Winter 2000 issue). In the UK, similar research is carried out by the Yoga Biomedical trust, which was established by Cambridge biochemist Dr Robin Munro. Munro claims that yoga therapy can help with conditions ranging from low back pain to diabetes, migraine and high blood pressure. Linked to the Trust’s research are specialised therapeutic yoga courses for back pain, arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis and cancer. These are offered by the Yoga Therapy centre, established in 1993 and which used to be at the Royal Homeopathic Hospital in London.

The more subtle benefits on the psychological and spiritual levels are as important as the physical benfits. Astanga yoga can be described as a moving meditation. The focus on ujjayi breath, bandhas and drishti serve to still the mind, creating inner calm and a more spacious perspective which eventually permeates other aspects of the practitioner’s life. Particularly important in this respect is savasana, the corpse pose, performed at the end of a yoga session. Consisting of ten to fifteen minutes of total recumbent relaxation, this pose allows the breath and heartbeat to slow rigth down.

Ashtanga Yoga - Yoga Magazine. Ashtanga yoga is a spiritual practice that opens a door to the real experience of divinity within ev- ery student.

Ashtanga Yoga - Yoga Magazine

Through the context of the physical practice of postures, breathing and specific focal points, the mind is trained to be increasingly sub- tler until it can perceive the most refined sensa- tions and experiences. The doorway to the inner world of transformation and self-realisation un- locks and students concentrate their mind on the deepest experience of truth within themselves. The term Ashtanga yoga originates in Patan- jai’s Yoga Sutras that describe the eight-limbs of Ashtanga yoga.

These include yama ( socially oriented moral observances), niyama (personally oriented observances), asana (physical postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense withdrawl), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (peace).

Learn, Practice

Ashtanga Yoga - Best Free Yoga Videos for Beginners. I’ve been practicing yoga almost daily for over 4 years, and more than half that time was with free online videos.

Best Free Yoga Videos for Beginners

I continue to learn a lot from the many delights of YouTube. I hope this collection is a useful resource for anybody who wants to (re) start a yoga practice. It’s kind of a taster of what’s out there. In general, whatever you decide to, listen to your body! You can always rest. Very Easy Surya Namaskar, “Sun Salutation” – 11 minThis is the foundation of all yoga asana (postures). This video is a really easy version that includes a few warm up exercises to get joints and spine moving.

Surya Namaskar, “Sun Salutation” – 4 min This video is a really detailed breakdown of how to do the sun salutation in the ashtanga tradition. Desk yoga – 4 min Very practical video, albeit a bit of a cheesy teaching style. Bedtime yoga – 6 min I suggest getting ready for bed before you try this so you can just nod off afterwards. This is quite soft spoken, and flow-y but still nice and slow. SHRI K. PATTABHI JOIS ASHTANGA YOGA INSTITUTE.

Practice tools Archives - revolutionary habit. In Ashtanga it’s traditional to have Led Primary classes on a Friday.

Practice tools Archives - revolutionary habit

Of course it’s best if you can practice regularly with your teacher, though us home ashtangis need to make do. Having some free tools I can go back to and be lead with the count really helps keep me on track and focused, week after week. These videos are to be watched, observed, learnt from – but they can also work as free tools to help practice ashtanga led at home. Krishna Pattabhi Jois, Leading Expert in Yoga, Dies at 93 - Obituary (Obit) K. Pattabhi Jois. Sri K.

K. Pattabhi Jois

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga. This article is about a style of yoga consisting of six series founded by K.

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga

Pattabhi Jois.

Mysore Style

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Pranayama - Breath Control. Asanas - Yoga Postures. Drishtis - Focused Gaze. Bandhas. 8 Limbs.