Ashtanga Yoga is a system of yoga transmitted to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915 – 2009). Today this system also known as the classical Indian yoga. “Ashtanga” means “the eight limbs,” indeed Ashtanga yoga named after the eight limbs of yoga mentioned in Yoga Sutra Patanjali, including yama, niyama, asana, pranayama.
Often, Ashtangi practice their yoga in Mysore style. The term “Mysore style” comes from the city Mysore, in Karnataka, India, where Pattabhi Jois and T. Krisnamcharya taught. In this practice, students are expected to memorize a sequence and practice in the same room as others without being led by the teacher. The role of the teacher is to guide as well as provide adjustments or assists in posture.
Usually an Ashtanga practice begins with five repetitions of Surya Namaskar A and five repetitions of Surya Namaskar B, followed by a standing sequence. Following this the practitioner begins one of six series, followed by the closing sequence.
Alignments in Ashtanga practice are emphasized very detailed alignment and posture-break down instructions. Tristhana means the three places of attention or action: breathing system (pranayama), posture (asana), and looking place (dristhi). These three are very important for yoga practice, and cover the three levels of purification: the body, nervous system and the mind. “They are always performed in conjunction with each other”.
The method of Ashtanga yoga involves synchronizing the breath with progressive series of postures. A process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body and calm mind.