Ashtanga Yoga

A system of Yoga popularised and introduced to the modern world by Sri Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009) often promoted as a modern day form of classical Indian Yoga. This dynamic style of yoga incorporates synchronising the breath (Ujjayi) with a progressive sequence of postures known as ‘Vinyasa ‘which links one asana to the next in a serpentine flow integrating a balance of strength and flexibility. This process produces intense internal heat and profuse cleansing sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs resulting in improved circulation, a strong light body.

According to Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who taught the creators of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Ujjayi breath is a balancing and calming breath which increases oxygenation and builds internal body heat. Ujjayi “tones the lungs and encourages the free and healthy flow of prana”, while helping to regulate blood pressure and bringing oxygen to all parts of the lungs. To create a soft sound in the back of the throat which sounds a little like the ocean or Darth Vader practise the sound “Haaahhh” on an exhalation with the mouth open a few times then make the same sound but with the mouth closed.

Bandhas (internal body locks assisting with the regulation of pranic flow) a sustained contraction of a group of muscles that assists and aids both moving in and out of the posture and retention of the posture.

Mūlabandha, or root lock, is performed by tightening the perineum muscles located between the anus and the genitals. Apana is prevented from flowing downwards.

Uḍḍīyāna Bandha, a contraction of the muscles of the lower abdominal area – this bandha is considered the most important bandha as it supports our breathing and encourages the development of strong core muscles.

Jālaṅdhara Bandha throat lock, is achieved by lowering the chin slightly while raising the sternum and the tip of the tongue to the roof of your mouth bringing the Drishtis (Gaze) to the tip of the nose.

Drishtis helps us to develop awareness by focusing our gaze building concentration and helping to control the mind.