Ashtanga vinyasa is a hatha yoga practice based on the Yoga Korunta and oral teachings transmitted to Pattabhi Jois from the great yoga master Krishnamacharya.
An Ashtanga class starts with surya namaskar, the sun salutation, a cardiovascular exercise which involves a very dynamic series of forward and backward bending movements. This exercise heats up the body and awakens vital energy.
One then practices a sequence of yoga postures with an emphasis on three elements:
- Bandha: internal contractions to lock in and concentrate the vital energy
- Ujjayi: a sustained, powerful breathing technique
- Drishti: a specific point of visual focus during the posture
Each posture is held for a certain number of breaths before practicing a vinyasa - a sequence of movement synchronised with the breath - to maintain the dynamic flow of vital energy.
After the sequence of yoga postures, one sits to practice the control of the vital energy through pranayama - various breathing techniques. One calms down and focuses on the inflow, retention, and outflow of the breath and its consequent subtle influence on the movement of the vital energy within.
Finally, one lies down and falls into savasana - a very deep relaxation - since there is nothing left than to let go of all remaining tensions and surrender, which in turn induces a state of vitality and joy.
The weekly Ashtanga Basics course will take you through: ujjayi breath, bandhas (internal energy locks), and drishti (focal placement). You will gain solid understanding, respect your own body and breath capacity, and build sufficient skill to practice confidently. You will also be introduced to a basic pranayama (breathing) practice.
During the course, you will learn the standard asana sequence with a particular attention on proper alignment and individualised adaptations. Over the weeks, you will be inspired to remember the postures as you start to weave them together into a flowing sequence coordinated with your breathing rhythm so that you cultivate the inner awareness so fundamental to yoga. The practice of breathing techniques, typically done after asana, will be developed gradually and in accordance with students' capacity.
"I want to thank you for your yoga classes that give me lots of energy and joie de vivre." - M.B.
"I feel much better and I don't remember when was the last time I slept so well. It is tough, but it is worth it!" - T.J.