Yet Yoga as a way of life and philosophy, can be practiced by anyone with an inclination to undertake it, for yoga belongs to humanity as a whole. It is not the property of any one group or any one individual, but can be followed by any and all, in any corner of the globe, regardless of class, creed or religion.
Shri K Pattabhi Jois, Yoga Mala 1962
Ashtanga Yoga as a physical practice was methodized in the ancient text The Yoga Korunta approximately 4000 years ago by the Vedic seer Rishi Vamana. These texts are the foundation of what makes up the Ashtanga Yoga sequences today. They were re-discovered by the Indian yoga master Shri T Krishnamacharya and passed on to several of his students, including Shri K Pattabhi Jois. Today his grandson Sharath is teaching in the shala in Mysore together with his mother, Pattabhi Jois´ daughter Saraswathi.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a dynamic and progressing sequence of postures linked together by the breath. Through practice of breathing (Ujjai), postures (asanas), and gazing point (dristi), we cultivate awareness of the body and senses, which brings about a deep internal consciousness. Regular practice of Ashtanga Yoga improves circulation, purifies, strengthens and balances the body and mind. This gives us a light and strong body and a steady and peaceful mind -which enables us to experience our lives as whole and unified beings.
L’Ashtanga Yoga en tant que pratique physique a été théorisé il y a environ 4000 ans dans l’ancien texte « Yoga Korunta » du devin védique Rishi Vamana. Ces écrits sont le fondement de ce qu’est l’Ashtanga Yoga d’aujourd’hui. Il furent redécouverts par le maître yogi indien Shri T Krishnamacharya, et transmis à plusieurs de ses disciples, dont Shri K Pattabhi Jois. Aujourd’hui, son petit-fils Sharath enseigne au shala de Mysore avec sa mère Saraswathi, la fille de Pattabhi Jois. L’Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga est basé sur l’enseignement de Shri K Pattabhi Jois à Mysore, en Inde. C’est une série dynamique et progressive de postures, reliées entre elles par le souffle. En pratiquant la respiration (Ujjai), les postures (asanas) et le regard (dristi) nous cultivons une conscience des sens et du corps, aboutissant à une profonde écoute interne. Une pratique régulière améliore la circulation, purifie, fortifie et équilibre le corps et l’esprit. Ceci nous donne un corps plus léger et plus fort à la fois, et un esprit calme et tranquille. Nous pouvons alors progressivement traverser l’existence comme des êtres entiers et complets.
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|Ashtanga Yoga in the Tradition of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois By Annie Grover Pace|
|Thursday, 04 September 2008|
|Yoga is a philosophy of life, which also has the potential to create a vibrantly healthy body and mind. Ashtanga Yoga, practiced in its correct sequential order, gradually leads the practitioner to rediscovering his or her fullest potential on all levels of human consciousness—physical, psychological, and spiritual. Through this practice of correct breathing (Ujjayi Pranayama), postures (asanas), and gazing point (driste), we gain control of the senses and a deep awareness of our selves. By maintaining this discipline with regularity and devotion, one acquires steadiness of body and mind.”Ashtanga” literally means eight limbs. They are described by Patanjali as: Yama (abstinences), Niyama (observances), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (contemplation). These branches support each other. Asana practice must be established for proper practice of pranayama and is a key to the development of the yamas and niyamas. Once these four externally oriented limbs are firmly rooted, the last four internally oriented limbs will spontaneously evolve over time.”Vinyasa” means breath-synchronized movement. The breath is the heart of this discipline and links asana to asana in a precise order. By synchronizing movement with breathing and practicing Mula and Uddiyana Bandhas (locks), an intense internal heat is produced. This heat purifies muscles and organs, expelling unwanted toxins as well as releasing beneficial hormones and minerals, which can nourish the body when the sweat is massaged back into the skin. The breath regulates the vinyasa and ensures efficient circulation of blood. The result is a light, strong body.There are three groups of sequences in the Ashtanga system. The Primary Series (Yoga Chikitsa) detoxifies and aligns the body. The Intermediate Series (Nadi Shodhana) purifies the nervous system by opening and clearing the energy channels. The Advanced Series A, B, C, and D (Sthira Bhaga) integrate the strength and grace of the practice, requiring higher levels of flexibility and humility.Each level is to be fully developed before proceeding to the next, and the sequential order of asanas is to be meticulously followed. Each posture is a preparation for the next, developing the strength and balance required to move further.BREATH: The continuity of deep, even breathing cannot be overemphasized in the Ashtanga Yoga system. When breath feeds action, and action feeds posture, each movement becomes gentle, precise, and perfectly steady.According to the teachings of Sri T. Krishnamacharya and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, “Breath is Life.” Breathing is our most fundamental and vital act and holds a divine essence: exhalation a movement towards God, and inhalation an inspiration from God. Our last action in life is to exhale, which, in essence, is the final and total surrender to God.PRACTICE: It is said that where there is no effort there is no benefit. Strength, stamina and sweat are unique aspects of this traditional Yoga, seemingly contrary to Western perceptions of Yoga. This demanding practice requires considerable effort and taps into and circulates a vital energy throughout the body, strengthening and purifying the nervous system. The mind then becomes lucid, clear and precise; and according to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, “Wherever you look you will see God.” Only through practice will we realize the truth of what our guru often says:”Everything is God.”***********************
Please note the importance of learning the Ashtanga method only from a traditionally trained teacher. Only a qualified teacher can provide the necessary guidance to assure safe, steady progress without injury to body or mind!
Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute
Yogasana Visharada Vedanta Vidwan
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Director
R. Sharat, Assistant Director
876/1, 1st Cross, Lakshmipuram
Mysore – 570004
Karnataka State, South India
© This information has been generously provided with the approval of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Please honor its authenticity and distribute only in unaltered form