Ashtanga yoga

Dynamic yoga for better control of the body and mind, Ashtanga Yoga awaits you.

From Sanskrit, Ashtanga literally means “the eight members”. Thus the practice takes its name from the 8 fundamental aspects of Yoga: Yama (attitude toward our environment), Niyama (attitude towards ourselves), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (restraint or expansion of breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal from attachment to perceptions of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (full integration).

What is Ashtanga yoga?

Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic and traditional form of yoga taught by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in Mysore India. Several styles are derived from the Ashtanga, however, the main one is the Ashtanga Yoga Mysore which has the particularity of presenting the instructions individually while being in a group setting. The student practices his Asanas sequences at his own pace and the adjustments are continually provided by the teacher.
Ashtanga includes the synchronization of breathing with a series of progressive and adapted postures. A process that produces intense internal heat for purification and elimination of toxins from muscles and organs. Ashtanga Yoga pays a balanced attention to the development of strength, flexibility, balance and resistance.

Although ashtanga yoga is based on the general principle of regular inspiration and exhalation, the specificities of breathing during asanas are debated. In his book “Yoga Mala”, Pattabhi Jois recommends staying five to eight breaths in one posture. Pattabhi Jois invites students to inhale 10 to 15 seconds then exhale 10 to 15 seconds, completely and deeply with the mouth closed. However, Manju Jois refers to a breath called “dirgha rechaka puraka,” which means long, deep and slow breaths while emitting a sound.

With regard to the other types of pranayama in Ashtanga, the consensus seems to be that these techniques should be practised and taught once the asanas are mastered.

The ashtanga also insists on the eyes’ direction, the drichti. Where do I look when I’m in each position? If the sight is in all directions, there is a good chance that the mind is also agitated. The sight at a specific place allows to calm down the mind and maintain the focus.

How to do Ashtanga yoga ?

In Ashtanga each posture carried out prepares for the next. The class begins with a series of greetings to the sun to warm up the body and refocus. 

Ashtanga Yoga consists of a fixed series of postures, the Ashtanga Series 1 is accessible to beginners being the first of the 5 other more advanced series.

This learning through memorization allows one to concentrate more on the feeling of one’s body and to observe the evolution of one’s practice.

Ashtanga yoga sometimes called Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is divided into three sections of series: primary, intermediate and advanced.

You may be asking when is the right time to add poses to your Ashtanga Yoga routine? There is no “good” or “bad” answer to the question, the important thing is to explore what comes your way when things are easy or when you feel bored or distracted while maintaining an internal concentration. Hence the importance of practising at least 5 days a week.

The beauty of the method lies in the setting in which it invites us to practice.