Yoga is a philosophy which can help create a strong healthy body and mind.
Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga practiced in the correct sequence brings the student to fully rediscover awareness (conciousness) at all levels: physical, psychological and spiritual.
By practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga which connects breath (Ujjayi Pranayama) postures (Asana) and the gaze (Drishti) one achieves self realisation and deep awareness (conciousness).
Through regular practice and devotion, physical and mental stillness and confidence is gained.
Ashtanga literally means eight limbs which are described by Patanjali as: Yama (Ethical Discipline), Niyama (Self Purification), Asana (Posture), Pranayama (Breath control), Pratyahara (Sense withdrawal), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation), Samadhi (Conciuosness itself). Each limb supporting the another.
For Pranayama one must practice the sequence of asana correctly.
This is also the key to the development of yamas and niyamas.
Only after having gained full control of the four "external" limbs of self realisation can one progress to the following four limbs of "internal" self realisation. These will evolve spontaneously over time.
Vinyasa means to synchronise movement and breath.
Breath is the heart of this discipline and links the asana into a precise sequence.
Synchronising the breath with movement and locking the Mulha & Uddiyana Bandhas, create intense heat.
This heat purifies the muscles and organs and eliminates toxins.
It also releases beneficial hormones and minerals that can nourish the body if massaged back into the skin after the practice.
Vinyasa regulates the breath and guarantees good blood circulation, resulting in a light, strong body.
There are three sequences of Ashtanga yoga.
The First Series (Yoga Chikitas) eliminates toxins and aligns the body.
Intermediate Series (Nadi Shodhana) purifies the nervous system by opening the energy channels.
The Advanced Series A, B, C, D (Sthira Bhaga) integrates strength and grace and demands a higher level of flexibility and humility.
Each level has to be fully developed and completed before passing onto the next.
It is vital that the sequence of the postures be meticulously respected.
Each posture is a preparation for the next, developing the necessary strength and balance required to continue.
Breath: the continuity of a long, deep uniform breath is essential in Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga.
When breath feeds the action and action the posture, every movement becomes gentle, exact and perfectly still.
According to the teaching of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois "Breath is life".
Breath represents the most vital and fundamental of all actions.
It helps maintain the Divine essence within each and everyone of us.
Exhaling is a movement towards God and inhaling represents an "intake" of God.
The final act before death is that of exhaling, this being the final surrender to God.
The Practice: It is said that "where there is no effort there is no benefit".
In contrast to the western image of yoga, strength, stamina and sweat are the unique aspects of this ancient form of yoga.
It is demanding and requires much effort, but it gives vital energy that strengthens and purifies the nervous system.
The mind becomes clear, limpid and precise.
As Sri K. Pattabhi Jois teaches "Wherever you look, you see God".
Only through practice does the truth of what Sri K. Pattabhi Jois teaches, "Everything is God", becomes true.
It is essential that Asthanga Vinyasa Yoga is practiced with a recognised teacher who has studied the traditional method.
Only a qualified teacher can provide the correct instructions to progress in a secure way, both for the mind and the body.