About Ashtanga Yoga
Yoga can be practised by anyone, whatever their state of health or phase of life. The style and pace of practice appropriate for an individual varies depending on each individual's situation in life. Ashtanga Yoga is a structured and dynamic style of yoga which, when practiced consistently in the correct sequential order, can lead the practitioner to purify, strengthen and align the body and mind.
The method of traditional Ashtanga Yoga is simple and can be learned by anyone. The practice in essence is a specific series of standing, seated and inversion postures practiced in a consistent order. No surprises - it is the same series every day. Sometimes people ask if it gets boring doing the same thing every day, six days a week, and that can/will be a challenge for many students. After some time, the experience of practicing the same postures in the same order brings a sense of comfort and familiarity to the practice so students can let go of listening and thinking and watching the teacher and just be where they are and experience the posture. The practice becomes a moving meditation, simple and sweet.
There are three groups of postures taught. Students begin with the Primary Series or Yoga Chikitsa taught to purify and strengthen especially the physical body. The Intermediate Series or Nadi Shodana purifies the nervous system and subtle body. The Advanced Series or Sthira Bhaga translates to strength and grace, requiring increasing levels of commitment and exploration of the internal and physical self.
In Ashtanga Yoga we use a three-pronged approach (tristana). This includes a coordinated effort of postures (asanas) correct breathing technique (bandha), and gazing points (dristi) to develop a deep well of self-knowledge and control of the senses. This practice uses coordinated breath and movement (vinyasa) to connect the postures and to produce internal heat which purifies the body and calms the mind. The result is a strong and light body.