Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is one of the parts of hath yoga. Ashtanga means eight-limbed in which asana is one branch and pranayama is another one. The first two folds Yama (Moral codes) and Niyama (Observances) are signified in this yoga including third and fourth fold asana (physical posture) and pranayama (extension of life force). It is not exclusive of hath yoga. Nevertheless, it has very own system of practice which is different from generally believed hath yoga what we may have been practicing or we may have known about. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is, indeed, the traditional hath yoga which has certain series and also the level: primary series, intermediate series, advanced A, B, C & D.
Coming to this date, the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga has been one of the most efficient and highly practiced and popular among the young enthusiast how are more focused on their flexibility and stamina along with calm, cool and collected state of mind. Because of its continuous practice from the beginning prayer, unless it comes to the ending prayer, it has its developed serial series combing with the vinyasa flow. In this style, you don’t expect of the break of any kind unless and until you have chanted the ending prayer. It sounds quite harsh. However, this is what Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga emphasizes and runs with this principle keeping in mind.
Whatever names have been baptized to yoga such as Power Yoga, Dynamic Yoga, these are the postures and practices basically inspired and incepted by the very Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
Separateness causes suffering and union creates freedom. Yoga is union. It is the separation from our Self, each other, nature, and from something greater or higher (be it God, universal consciousness, or whatever term you prefer to use) that causes the anxiety and chaos on us. It is difficult to experience our natural connection with each other when we don’t have that with our own Self. Yoga connects us with an inner wisdom. That helps to connect with all things. Now is the time for Yoga. Yoga is a practical method of bringing peace and connectedness back into our lives.
Yoga strengthens and purifies the nervous system so it can reflect a greater degree of consciousness and our lives can become an increasingly positive force in the world. If the nervous system is fresh and rested, the body will be healthy and the mind alert and comprehensive. As a result, our thought will be powerful and clear and our actions, which is manifested thoughts, will be successful and rewarding.
Through the sincere practice of the methods, the whole nervous system is revitalized, the body enjoys better health and more energy, the mind is rested and freed from the endless burdensome thought of future and past, and perception is restored to its primal freshness. We can actually gain back the connection to self and others as we are released from the restricted thinking, dull mind, and negativity resulting from a strained, tired nervous system. The healthier our nervous system becomes, the healthier our body, mind, thoughts, and actions result.
The History of Ashtanga Yoga
The inception/foundation of Ashtanga yoga is found to be in the text named Yoga Kurunta written by Vamana Rishi which is dated back to 500 to1500 years old. In the early 1900’s Rama Mohan Brahmachari, the guru of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya imparted the text to the latter. It was later shared with Pattabhi Jois during his discipleship with Krishnamacharya, which he began in 1927.
Ashtanga taught by Pattabhi Jois is a form of hatha yoga which focuses on asana (posture) and pranayama (breath control). This kind of yoga style is called Ashtanga Vinayas Yoga which should not be confused with the Sage Patanjali’s eightfold system of Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a traditional style of hatha yoga practiced and popularized by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India.
Coming to this date, the system of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga has been one of the most efficient and highly practiced and popular among the young enthusiast how are more focused on their flexibility and stamina along with calm, cool and collected state of mind. Because of its continuous practice from the beginning prayer, unless it comes to the ending prayer, it has its developed serial series combing with the vinyasa flow. In this style, you don’t expect of the break of any kind unless and until you have chanted the ending prayer. It sounds quite harsh. However, this is what Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga emphasizes and runs with this principle keeping in mind.
Method-Awaken the Fire Within
The method of practice in Ashtanga yoga is based on the linking of yoga postures through vinyasa, or movements between postures increase the blood circulation in a proper manner. Deep breathing and steady gaze is also part of the method while practicing posture for the sufficient amount of pure air consumption and removing the unwanted toxins out of the body through breathing out perspiration. Steady gaze is important for the concentration which leads to perpetual practice to the state of meditation providing calmness of the mind.
Vinyasa: Movement Breathing System
Ashtanga yoga wakes up the internal fire. It ignites the dormant flame of vital life energy within all of us. The vinyasa system works with the synchronization of deep, rhythmic breathing and movement. By linking the postures it creates a continuous flow of energy that heats up the body, bringing oxygen to the blood, nourishing through perspiration. As the heat goes up toxins are burned up and out of the system creating a lighter and stronger body, and a clear mind. The heat is not only a physical experience, it is an internal spiritual fire that burns through the fog of illusion and ignorance.
Access All Areas
As the internal heat goes up, not only do the toxins begin to exit the system, but another amazing thing happens; the body begins to bend and move. As Pattabhi Jois says, “even iron will bend with heat.” With this freedom of movement, we are to open up areas of the body that had previously been restricted or blocked. There is a release, a feeling of lightness. It is in the places that we can discover what yoga truly is. Yoga is not just a physical exercise or some new way to pass the time or fill the emptiness, but a method of bringing life and vitality back into those areas, awareness of the deeper, inner parts of ourselves. It is a reunion with that innate wisdom that we all possess, but seem to have lost touch with. Yoga was developed as a means of acknowledging or returning to the source of life.
With the increase of concentration, the breath, mind, body, and soul come into union, to entertainment. Ashtanga yoga has a focusing technique that joins the main life forces, being in unison to an internal rhythm. Through the control of the breath, the mind becomes calm, allowing one to tap into a flow state where there is no sense of time, where externally imposed barriers dissolve and there is a sense of oneness with the universe. The state when your focus increases, there is an effortlessness, a lightness in the harmony of movement and breathing.
Tishthana means the three places of attention or action: breathing system (pranayama), posture (asana), and looking place (dristhi). These three are very important for yoga practice and covers the three levels of purification: body, nervous system and the mind. They should be practiced in conjunction with each other.
Fundamentals of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
- Breathe: The most important part of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the system of breathing which should be rhythmic and deep-felt from your throat with inhalation and exhalation from the nose. The sound of breath has to be like a sleeping baby makes that is hissing sound. The breathing felt from the throat is called Ujjayi( Sanskrit word) breathing which means victorious breathing.
- Vinyasa: One of the unique parts adjoined and assimilated with Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is vinyasa: the synchronization of flow of the posture. It offers you to practice with the continuous and rhythmic flow which supports you to adjust with new posture on the one hand. On the other, it creates more heat on your body which exits toxins out of your body through the medium of perspiration as well as of breathing. This style of practice also makes you feel agile and concentrated in asana as you continue your practice. It enhances your arduousness as well as the vigour.
- Bandha: The third quint-essential part of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is bandha means a lock. The lock of your throat through lowering your chin slightly while raising the sternum is called Jalandhara Bandha. The squeeze of your abdomen, 2 inches below the navel center is called Uddiyana Bandha, the third one is Mula bandha which is also called root lock at the pelvic floor. The lock of the root is felt at the perineum, the place between the anus and the scrotum for the male and for the female it is between the part of the vagina and the anus. These three locks are as important it is as to practice aforementioned fundamentals of the Ashantaga Vinyasa Yoga.
- Drishthi : The fourth requisite of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga to achieve its optimum benefits is drishti which means to look or gaze at the certain object with the full concentration. The look should be soft. Basically, the focus of your eyes goes to nine points which are as follows:
- Angushtha Madhya Drishthi( Thumb)
- Agna Chakra Drishthi ( the point between the two eyes brows: Third Eye)
- Navi Chakra Drishthi ( Navel Centre)
- Nasagrai Drishti( Tip of the nose)
- Hasthagrai Drishthi( Hand)
- Padayograi Drishthi( Toe)
- Urdha Drishthi ( Up to Sky)
- Parshva Drishthi( Far to the side)
- Samadristhi( Straight ahead)