The Traditional Practice of Ashtanga Yoga
Yoga is a means to connect to your inner self and innate wisdom while creating a clean, strong physical body and mind.
In Ashtanga yoga, we use the practice of "free breathing," postures (asana), and gazing (drishti), to focus the mind, control the senses, and become more aware in our physical body as well as our spiritual body. This awareness is cultivated through daily practice, repetition and time. With the practice of yoga comes increased awareness and a steadiness in our body and mind.
Anyone can practice ashtanga yoga. The only requirement for practicing is dedication and a commitment to a regular daily practice. The breath is the foundation and heart of ashtanga yoga and the practice does not exist without a strong foundation of even "free breathing." In ashtanga, we use vinyasa, breath that is synchronized with movement, to move from posture to posture. The practice becomes like a dance with the breath as the foundation and the link between the movements. As the breath takes over, the mind steps back and clarity emerges. As we learn to control the breath, we learn to control the mind.
The breath is supported by the practice of bandha, physical locks that are used to support the physical body, generate internal heat, and cleanse and purify the nervous system. The practice of bandha allows for a practice that is balanced between strength and grace in both the physical and spiritual body. With the application of Drishti (gazing), the practice move inward. The Drishti provides a focus for the mind that helps draw the practitioner deeper into their own self, cultivating awareness and mindfulness.
The yoga tradition makes roots back thousands of years ago. The teachings of Sri T. Krishnamacharya were passed on to Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois who shared this lineage in Mysore, India and around the world until his death in 2009. The lineage continues strongly in the Jois family through Manju Jois, Saraswathi Jois, R. Sharath Jois and Sharmila Jois who all continue to teach this tradition to this day. At Ashtanga Yoga Vancouver, we honour this lineage by teaching as we have been taught from the source.