Ashtanga is an intensely physical and athletic form of yoga. Ashtanga yogis practice a prescribed set of asanas, channel energy through the body using bandhas (locks), and concentrate on singular points using drishti (gaze). Classes typically begin with an invocation to Patanjali chanted in Sanskrit.
Although Ashtanga Yoga literally translates as "eight-limbed yoga" and refers to the eight limbs outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra, in modern America it most often refers to the system taught by Indian yoga master K. Pattabhi Jois. Sometimes called Ashtanga vinyasayoga, Jois's Ashtanga comprises a precise series of poses done in sequential order, linked with the breath.