Taught according to the lineage passed on from T. Krishnamacharya to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and nowadays his son Manju Pattabhi Jois, daughter Saraswathi Rangaswamy and grandson R. Sharath Jois.
The term Ashtanga comes from sanskrit and means eight-limbs. Whereas physical practice of asanas is merely one of them.
Ashtanga Yoga is a holistic method based on concentrated and continued practice of asanas with tristana – the three elements: vinyasa, bandhas and drishti. In the beginning student learns the sun salutation A and B, to build up the strength, flexibility and establish certain quality of focus. Once this is achieved more advanced asanas are added and personal practice is established. The ujjayi breath – victorious breath or simply breath with sound is a pranayama technique, which is a base of vinyasa – the connection of breath and movement. Correct breathing helps to take control over the practice and be more aware about the body. Drishti are the focus points for the eyes, when the gaze is unstable the mind is wandering. Through the application of the drishti, asana practice with controlled breathing – Pranayama, becomes a proper practice of Ashtanga Yoga. Internal practice of awareness and withdrawal of the senses – Pratyahara. Practice of concentration – Dharana. Practice of meditation – Dhyana. Whereas the last limb Samadhi – is the state of oneness.
“The moment I say I am a Yogi – I am not a Yogi!”
Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya