The Tradition of Ashtanga Yoga

The Tradition of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is a system of yoga transmitted to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009). This method of yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a 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 a calm mind. Classes at PURE are in the traditional Mysore-style format, where the teacher guides each student through their own practice as the student is ready, and also in the Led-style format, or group classes.

Ashtanga yoga is a system of yoga recorded by the sage Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta, an ancient manuscript “said to contain lists of many different groupings of asanas, as well as highly original teachings on vinyasa, drishti, bandhas, mudras, and philosophy” (Jois 2002 xv). The text of the Yoga Korunta “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, beginning in 1927” (“Ashtanga Yoga”).

Ashtanga yoga means “eight-limbed yoga” as transmitted by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. According to Patanjali, the path of internal purification for the yoga practitioner consists of the following eight-fold practices:

Yama (moral codes)
Niyama (self-purification and study)
Asana (posture)
Pranayama (breath control)
Pratyahara (sense withdrawal)
Dharana (concentration)
Dhyana (meditation)
Samadhi (absorption)

Leave a Comment