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Spotlight on Ashtanga Yoga

reversed warrior

This form of yoga is intensely physical and athletic. Ashtanga yogis practice a prescribed set of asanas, channel energy through the body using bandhas (locks), and concentrate on singular points using drishti (gaze) in asanas.

Classes typically begin with an invocation to Patanjali chanted in Sanskrit.

What It Literally Means: Ashtanga Yoga translates as "eight-limbed yoga" and refers to the eight limbs outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra, which include moral and ethical guidelines, postures, breathwork, sense withdrawal, concentration, and meditation.

What It Has Come to Mean: In America, Ashtanga Yoga most often refers to the system taught by Indian yoga master K. Pattabhi Jois. Sometimes called Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, Jois's Ashtanga comprises a precise series of poses done in sequential order, linked together with the breath.

Who Founded It: The practice that Jois teaches is detailed in an ancient Sanskrit text called the Yoga Kurunta, which was rediscovered early in this century by T. Krishnamacharya. Jois studied with Krishnamacharya in Mysore, India.

Teachers to Know:


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Reader Comments

Josh

I have taken much benefit from my practice of Ashtanga Yoga. I disagree that "This form of yoga is intensely physical and athletic", Ashtanga Yoga is not all or nothing. So 'intensely physical and athletic' is only looking at at the Asanas of Ashtanga, which is only one of eight limbs of the practice.
On an another thought; the student is given Asanas by a teacher, the student doesn't have need to do more than this.

Laurie

I think that Yoga Journal should have used a photo of an Ashtanga pose for the article

Pat

I agree with James.

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