The Traditional Practice
Ashtanga yoga is an ancient system of yoga that was taught by Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta. This text was imparted to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900’s by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, and was later passed down to Pattabhi Jois during the duration of his studies with Krishnamacharya. Pattabhi Jois who taught his grandson Sharath Jois, who is now the holder of the lineage. 1
The foundation of Ashtnaga yoga is known as trishtana: breath, asana (postures), and dristi (gazing point). The relationship between breath and movement, is known as vinyasa. The purpose of vinyasa is internal cleansing.
Ashtanga yoga can be practiced by anyone as each student is considered individually and is taught at a pace that is suitable for that specific condition and moment. This traditional way of teaching is known as Mysore style.
The structure of the asana practice always begins with Surya Namaskar and concludes with Padmasana and rest. Gradually over time the student learns the series of asanas that goes in between. Each asana builds from the previous one and prepares for the successive asana.
Learning yoga in this traditional method benefits the student on many levels. Through daily practice of Ashtanga yoga the student gain independence and confidence in the sadhana practice (spiritual practice).
Refers to the succession of knowledge passed from teacher to disciple in its most valuable form, based on direct and practical experience. This ancient knowledge, transmitted through thousands of years is the basis of the lineage.
The teacher and student form a relationship based on trust.
The dharma, or duty, of the student is to practice diligently and to strive to understand the teachings of the guru. The perfection of knowledge and of yoga, lies beyond simply mastering the practice; knowledge grows from the mutual love and respect between student and teacher, a relationship that can only be cultivated over time. 2
The teaching should be presented with a good heart, with good purpose and with noble intentions.
1 and 2 extracted from: http://kpjayi.org/
Great method to enjoy the benefits of the highly therapeutic practice.
Mysore style is the traditional way of teaching and learning Ashtanga yoga. The teacher holds the space for students to practice at their own pace, the portion of the sequence they have been taught. The teacher assesses each student individually.
The Ashtanga series is learned posture by posture, making it easy to memorize and allowing each individual to practice at their own rhythm, following their breath.
This traditional style welcomes complete beginners to advanced practitioners. Everyone practicing side to side and building a powerful group energy.
Led classes are recommended for students familiar with the method. The synchronized breath and movement creates a highly energetic and focused practice.
Traditionally Led classes are taught twice a week. The teacher who guides the class, calls out the name of each asana, counts each vinyasa and names the proper dristi. All students listen carefully and follow together.
Led classes provide an opportunity to reset un-constructive self-practice patterns and allows the student to cultivate their practice by following the traditional vinyasa count as it is originally proposed.