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Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
Religious origins: Hinduism
Regional origins: Mysore, India
Founding Guru: Sri Krishnamikurti, Sat-Guruof Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
Mainstream popularity: Growing from the late 20th century
Derivative forms:
Related schools
Iyengar Yoga
Practice emphases: Vinyassa- coordinating of breatheand movement, very physically active, ujjayi breath
Other topics
The term ashtanga means eight limbs. Within Raja Yoga, a classical Indian system of Hindu philosophythe eight limbs of yogaare expounded by Patanjaliin the Yoga Sutras.

This article is about the style of yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Joisof Mysore, India, and originally established by Sri Krishnamikurtiat the Mysore Palace.

This article is about the Ashtanga Yoga style of yogataught by Sri K. Pattabhi Joisof Mysore, India. This school of yoga seeks to embody the traditional eight limbs of yoga (referred to as ashtanga or Raja Yoga) as expounded by Patanjaliin his Yoga Sutras. Ashtanga Yoga is said to have its origin in the ancient text Yoga Korunta by Vamana Rishi, which Krishnamacharyareceived from his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, and later passed on to Pattabhi Jois. Having taught many of the major yoga teachers of the 20th Century, such as B.K.S. Iyengarand Indra Devi, Krishnamacharya has a huge influence on many of the modern forms of yoga taught today and played a crucial part in their development. Today, Ashtanga remains the most faithful to his original teachings. Krishnamacharya was well-known for tailoring his teachings to address specific concerns of the person or group he was teaching, and Ashtanga Vinyasa is a result of this. When working under the convalescing Maharajaof Mysore, Krishnamacharya set up a shala, or yoga school, in the palace grounds and adapted Ashtanga practice for the young boys of about twelve years of age who lived there. Ashtanga, therefore, is a very physically demanding practice targetted at focusing the mind and body.


  • 1 Method
    • 1.1 Bandhas
    • 1.2 Drishtis
    • 1.3 Mantras
  • 2 Further reading
  • 3 See also
  • 4 External links
    • 4.1 General
    • 4.2 Certified teachers
      • 4.2.1 US Authorized Teachers


The main difference of this style of Yoga to other styles is the focus on vinyasa, literally the intelligent putting together of things but taken in this style of asana practice as a variant of suryanamaskapractised between asana. The student moves into and out of each asana in a well-defined set of movements, called Suryanamaskara or Sun-Salutation, which are combined with specific breathing patterns (ujjayi breathing). The purpose of vinyasa is to create heat in the body, which leads to purification of the body through increased circulation and sweating. It also improves flexibility, which allows the student to practice advanced asanas without risk of injury.

Other components of Ashtanga Yoga include bandhas(internal locks) and drishti(gaze).

There are six series altogether. Practice begins with a set number of Sun-Salutations and standing poses, then the student moves to either the Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, B, C, or D, depending on his or her skill level, and closes his practice with a group of finishing poses. Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally taught in Mysore style (supervised self practice). Each student moves through their practice at their own pace and level. The teacher observes the students, and helps or adjusts individual students when the need arises. However, in order to be able to conduct larger classes in his world travels, Jois developed the Led style, where the teacher announces the poses as they arise and students follow as a group, one pose at a time. Many western Ashtanga classes are taught in this way.


There are three bandhas, or internal body locks, prescribed in the different postures. The banda is a sustained contraction of a group of muscles that assists the practitioner not only in retaining a pose but also in moving in and out of it. The mula bandha, or root lock, is performed by tightening the muscles around the pelvic and perineum area. The udiyana bandha, often described as bringing the navel to the base of the spine, is a contraction of the muscles of the lower abdominal area. Jalandhara bandha, the chin lock, is achieved by bringing the chin to rest on the torso and bringing the gaze down.


Like bandhas, there are nine drishtis that instruct the yoga student in directing his or her gaze. Each pose is associated with a particular drishti. They are:

  • Angusta ma dyai: to the thumb
  • Broomadhya: to the third eye, or between the eyebrows
  • Nasagrai: at a point six inches from the tip of the nose
  • Hastagrai: to the palm, usually the extended hand
  • Parsva: to the left side
  • Parsva: to the right side
  • Urdhva: to the sky, or inwards
  • Nabichakra: to the navel
  • Padayoragrai: to the toes !


The Ashtanga practice is traditionally started with the following Sanskritmantra:

vande gurunam sharanaravinde sandarshita svatma sukhava bodhe
nih shreyase jangalikayamane samsara halahala mohasantyai
abahu purusharakam sankhashakrasi dharinam
shahasra shirsam svetam pranamami patanjalim
and closes with the mangala mantra:
svasti prajabyah paripalayantam nyayena margena mahim mahishah
gobrahmanebyah shubamashtu nityam lokasamasta sukhinobavantu

Further reading

  • S. K. Pattabhi Jois (2000). Yoga Mala. Patanjali Yoga Shala, New York.

See also

  • Yoga- Ashtanga Yogaand Raja Yoga
  • Hinduism
  • Patanjaliand the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
  • Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

External links


  • Official website of Pattabhi Jois's Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute
  • Popular website for the Ashtanga Yoga system
  • RateYoga.com - User rated list of Yoga resources

Certified teachers

See Ashtanga.com list of certified and authorised teachers

US Authorized Teachers

  • Anne Finstad
  • Annie (Grover) Pace
  • Chuck Miller
  • David and Catherine Garrigues
  • David Swenson
  • Dominic Corigliano
  • Louise Ellis
  • Manju Jois (son of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois)
  • Melanie Fawer
  • Noah Williams
  • Richard Freeman
  • Tim Miller
  • Nancy Gilgoff

es:Ashtanga vinyasa yoga

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashtanga+Vinyasa+Yoga Wikipedia article Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

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