Ashtanga yoga is a traditional practical method as taught in Yoga korunta, which is imparted to Guruji Sri T Krishnamacharya by his Guru Ramamohana Brahmachari, which is later passed down to Guruji Sri K Pattabhi jois and from him to his daughter Saraswati Jois(Amma) and grandson Guruji Sri R Sharath Jois.
The Ashtanga Yoga practice as taught by Guruji Sri K Pattabhi Jois, āsanas are linked in an exact sequence, practitioners can understand at the beginning itself the scientific and authentic approach of of Guruji.
Guruji emphasize on several aspects in the practice of Ashtanga yoga, few are;
Tristhana – which means three aspects or actions to be followed while doing abhyasa. Which helps to purify the body, nervous system and mind. They are
a) Svasa (breathing), should be done only through the nose. And should not hold the breath. Both inhalation and exhalation should be even and steady.
b) Asana (posture), practice of asana should be done as taught by teacher who follows the tradition as it is. Which purify, strengthen and give flexibility to the body.
c) Drsti (gazing points maintained in asana practice)
Vinyasa – Co-ordination of right breathing and right movement as taught in tradition. Practicing asanas in vinyasa method cleanses the internal system and makes the blood hot. As Guruji Said “Boils the blood”. When blood becomes hot it cleanses and becomes thin. And all the cells and organs get ample nourished blood supply. Guruji gave the reference from Yoga korunta of Vamana Rishi , that without Vinyasa one should not do the asana practice. ie.,
“vinā vinyāsa yogena āsanādhiḥ na kārayet”
Sweat – Sweat is an aspect of Ashtanga vinyasa system. The sweat generated through the practice throws out the impurities from the body and purifies it. And as mentioned in Hathapradipika
jalena śramajātena gātramardanamācaret |
dṛḍhatā laghutā caiva tena gātrasya jāyate || HP II : 13
Sweat formed during practice should be wiped dry by rubbing the body with the palms of the hands. If this is done, the body will become lighter and stronger.
When the body is thus purified the purification of nervous system and sense organs proceeds.
Bandhas – Bandhas are internal locks which are very essential for proper breathing and mind control. During asana practice we come across with Mula bandha and Uddiyana bandha (anal and lower abdominal locks respectively). Bandhas are achievable by regular practice.
In Ashtanga yoga method each student is considered as an individual and taught at a pace that is suitable for their situation in life like Age, Health, Emotions etc.