Ashtanga vinyasa yoga

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Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a system of yoga that has its origins in the ancient Yoga Korunta manuscript, compiled by the sage Vamana Rishi. Its current form was developed at the Mysore Palace in Mysore India.[1], and is commonly attributed to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois by way of his Satguru, Krishnamacharya.

In discussing the Ashtanga Vinyasa system, a clear distinction must be made between ashtanga (lower-case 'a'), the eight (ashta) limbs of classical Raja Yoga, as outlined by Pantanjali in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Ashtanga (upper-case 'A'), which refers to the subject of this article. The eight limbs connoted by the word ashtanga refer specifically to the eight spiritual practices outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra:

Yama [moral codes]
Niyama [self-purification and study]
Asana [posture]
Pranayama [breath control]
Pratyahara [sense control]
Dharana [concentration]
Dhyana [meditation]
Samadhi [contemplation]

History and Legend

The Ashtanga Vinyasa series is said to have its origin in the ancient text Yoga Korunta, compiled by Vamana Rishi, and which Krishnamacharya received from his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari at Mount Kailash. This manuscript was later passed on to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Krishnamacharya has had considerable influence on many of the modern forms of yoga taught today, as many notable present-day teachers, such as B.K.S. Iyengar and Indra Devi, along with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, were his students.

Krishnamacharya was well-known for tailoring his teachings to address specific concerns of the person or group he was teaching, and the Vinyasa series for adolescents is a result of this. Krishnamacharya himself was not practicing those series at the time, nor did he teach seasoned practitioners and adults in the same manner. When working under the convalescing Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnamacharya set up a shala, or yoga school, in the palace grounds and adapted the vinyasa practice for the young boys who lived there. Vinyasa has therefore been thought of as a very physically demanding practice, which can be successful at channeling the hyperactivity of young minds. This system can also be used as a vessel for helping calm ongoing chatter of the mind, reducing stress and teaching extroverted personalities, to become introverted in their bodies and their practice.

The Vinyasa Method

This style of yoga is characterized by a focus on vinyasa, or a dynamic connecting posture, that creates a flow between the more static traditional yoga postures. The vinyasa 'flow' is a variant of Sūrya namaskāra, the Sun Salutation. The whole practice is defined by six specific series of postures, always done in the same order, combined with specific breathing patterns (ujjayi breathing).

See also


  1. Sjnom, N.E. (1999, 2nd Edition). The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace Abhinav Publications, India.