What is Ashtanga Yoga?

Ashtanga Yoga, or Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, is a system of yoga that comes to us through a lineage originating in Mysore, India.  This is “parampara” - a direct flow of knowledge passed down from teacher to student.  In the early 20th century, T. Krishnamacharya integrated various ancient teachings of yoga. One of his students, K. Pattabhi Jois, codified these teachings into what we now know as Ashtanga Yoga.  His grandson, R. Sharath Jois, currently teaches in this lineage in Mysore.

 

“Ashtanga” can be translated as “eight limbs”.  These limbs are yama (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dyana (meditation), and samadhi (absorption).  

 

All together, these limbs compromise our sadhana, a devoted daily practice. This is meant to be practical and sustainable within your life - it does not look exactly the same for any two practitioners. Your individual practice starts small with a seed, slowly and naturally growing over time into a beautiful eight-limbed tree. 

 

The center of our asana practice as Ashtanga practitioners is “trishtana” - breathing, gazing point, and the posture itself.  We cultivate a steady quality in these fields over time, naturally developing qualities such as calmness, focus, strength, flexibility, and equinamity that we can apply on and off the mat.

The Mysore Method

The heart of the Ashtanga practice is the Mysore style, or method.  This is a time (generally in the morning) for your individual practice, an inner experience in which you follow your own breath through a series of asanas.  The teacher is there to support, and your practice slowly evolves over time.  This is a highly individual, and therefore accessible, system of yoga.  The beauty of this method is that your practice belongs to you and you can take it with you anywhere.

 

This means that there is no set start time for everyone - just arrive with enough time to finish your practice by the end of the time period.  We ask that everyone respect the space and other students by having a clean mat, rug, etc. and not wearing scented products to the studio.

Abuse

We recognize that K. Pattabhi Jois was sexually abusive to some of his students.  We believe all allegations of this abuse.  It is of utmost importantance that this not continue in this lineage or anywhere else.  The Ashtanga method is something we can appreciate and learn from separately from this abuser. If you wish to discuss any issues related to this, please reach out.