Ashtanga Yoga

Photo by Elina Sazonova on

The forefather of contemporary yoga Professor T. Krishnamacharya known around the world as the Yoga Guru of renowned teachers like Indra Devi (the first woman to practise yoga), Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, B.N.S. Iyengar and T.K.V. Desikachar; all with their own interpretations of his teachings.

Ashtanga (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga is a traditional form of dynamic yoga that became popular in the West during the 70s through the teachings of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore South India, but it all started back in 1964.

The first westerner to find his way to the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institut Mysore, around this time, was a Belgian by the name of André Van Lysebeth. He spent 2 months studying with Pattabhi Jois and wrote a book “Pranayama” which included a photo of Pattabhi Jois and the address of the Shala in Mysore.

The method combines the breath (prana) internal energy locks (bandhas) focus point (drishti) and postures (asanas). There are 6 distinct series, each with a specific purpose: Yoga Chikitsa (Yoga Therapy) or ‘Primary Series’; Nadi Sodhana (Purifying the Nervous System) or ‘Intermediate Series’; Sthira Bhaga (Divine Stability) or ‘Advanced Series’ A, B, C and D.

Synchronising the breath with the asanas creates a deep internal heat, the energy lock keeps that heat in the body, making the practitioner sweat and release toxins purifying the body and calming the mind. The Series is choreographed breath by breath (Vinyasa Count), by adding a focal point, the practice becomes a moving meditation strung together with a transition (Vinyasa) between asanas.