Yoga is much more than just the physical practice of yoga postures.
It is actually made up of 8 "limbs". Let me guide you around:
What is Ashtanga Yoga?
Ashtanga Yoga is a system of āsanas (poses) that are linked through a “flow” of movements known as vinyasa. Vinyasa is a synchronized breath and movement. This is the very base of our Ashtanga Yoga practice.
During our guided class you will be led through the Ashtanga Half Primary Series (a fixed sequence poses) by the teacher, guiding you up to Navasana’s half way point of the sequence. The class consists of a fixed series of postures, and the teacher will count and talk you through the practice. We focus on increasing strength, flexibility, and a tranquil state of mind. Expect to get sweaty, both because of the physical practice and a focus on the free breathing technique with sound (based on the Ujjayi Pranayama) that heats up the body.
There are 6 series of Ashtanga Yoga, however during our classes we only focus on the first "Primary Series" also known as Yoga Chikitsa. We synchronize breath with movement (vinyasas), and there is a large focus on the "Tristana" method. This method consists of three parts: correct breathing by using a free breathing technique with sound based on the Ujjayi breath, focusing on precise gazing points, called dristi, and yoga postures, called āsanas, while using the bandhas (energy locks).
Ashtanga focuses on the 'eight limbs' of yoga, according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The eight limbs are: Yamas (5 ethical codes), Niyamas (5 observances, self discipline), Asana (postures, seat), Pranayama (breathing, breath control), Pratvahara (withdrawal of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption, union and peace). These eight limbs go from the ‘outer’ to the ‘inner’ space. According to Patanjali our asana practice, our ‘seat’, should be steady and comfortable.
Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally taught in two ways: Mysore style and through Led classes. Mysore is a southern Indian city, and the heart of Ashtanga Yoga. Mysore classes are not led classes. The teacher doesn’t demo any of the postures. It is an assisted self practice, under the guidance of an experienced Ashtanga teacher. You will work at your own pace. Āsanas are given to the students one by one, in the order of the traditional sequence of the series. During a Led class on the other hand, the teacher will count and talk you through the practice. Most often the postures are not being demoed by a teacher.
Our Ashtanga Led Classes are often being demoed, especially the classes for beginners. All classes are open to students of any level, although a medium level of physical endurance is recommended.