What is Ashtanga?

Ashtanga is a sanskrit word that means “8 limbs”. The term found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and refers to the 8 limbs of yoga practice: yamas and niyamas (ethical precepts), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing practices), and pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi (4 stages of meditation). Nearly all modern forms of yoga acknowledge these 8 limbs as a foundation for their inquiry into yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga also refers to a style of yoga developed by 20th century yoga master Sri K. Patthabi Jois according to the teachings of his guru Sri T. Krishnamacharya. Jois taught his method of Ashtanga Yoga at his yoga shala in Mysore, India for most of his life, and his teachings continue to live on today through his grandson, Sharath Jois who directs the K. Patthabi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institue (KPJAYI) in Mysore, India. We encourage serious students who wish to deepen their practice to seek out teachers who are certified or authorized by KPJAYI.

Students attending an Ashtanga Yoga class should expect to experience powerful, dynamic, flowing practice that is physically challenging and potentially cathartic. Students will be encouraged to find a balance between respecting and exploring beyond their physical limitations. The Ashtanga Yoga method emphasizes breathing coordinated with movement, visual and mental focus (dristi), and access to the deep strength of the pelvis and lower abdomen (bandhas).

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