What is Ashtanga Yoga?
"Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory" --- Pattabhi Jois of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute
Ashtanga Yoga can be practiced by anyone. It systematically guides beginners from their first few gentle postures right the way through to the more advanced postures practiced by experienced students.
Ashtanga Yoga, as taught by Sri K. Pattahabi Jois (1915 - 2009) of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India is a dynamic form of Yoga. The practice combines flexibility, balance, strength and improving your breathing to workout the entire body.
Thanks to a system called Vinyasa, Ashtanga Yoga improves your breathing. The yoga postures (asanas) flow from one to another, where each movement is coordinated with the breath. This practice allows you to not only improve your energy but to also expand your lung capacity.
There are six series in the Ashtanga Yoga practice (at each practice you will practice one series), with each series focusing on improving different areas of your flexibility, balance and strength. Each series combines poses of varying difficulty, to gradually build up your ability and ultimately health.
The science of Ashtanga Yoga is really evident in the layout of the six series and with regular practice you can lose weight, improve your strength and muscle tone, improve your mental clarity, reduce anxiety and become more flexible than with other forms of exercise.
The benefits of Ashtanga Yoga go beyond a lean, toned body and and relaxation. Known as Yoga Chikitsa (Sanskrit for Yoga Therapy) the Primary Series (First Series) of Ashtanga Yoga is said to purify and heal the body, and has been prescribed for its health benefits. With regular practice, Yoga has been known to reduce stress, increased blood circulation, improve flexibility, and strength. Yoga has also been shown to help with normalizing sleep patterns and relaxation. A regular practice (at least three times a week) can reduce the symptoms of many chronic diseases (e.g. arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disorders).
Pattahabi Jois is often quoted for his famous saying, "Do Your Practice and All is Coming." Get on your mat and experience this for yourself!