A very basic overview .. Brought to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009) Ashtanga Yoga combines breath control (pranayama) and physical postures (asana) with sense withdrawal (pratyahara) and concentration (dharana). The result is a powerfully transformative experience that produces deep internal healing.
Following a precise sequential order, postures (or asana) are organised in six different series – Primary (Yoga Chikitsa) which detoxifies and aligns the body; Intermediate (Nadi Shodhana) which purifies the nervous system; and the Advanced A, B, C and D (Sthira Bhaga) integrating strength and refinement of the practice.
‘Astanga’ literally means ‘8 limbs’ and was devised by the great sage Patanjali: he was the first to start a systematized approach to yoga through the Yoga Sutras. These 8 ‘limbs’ or steps, which support each other and work together to guide practioners towards the pathway of Yoga – the divine union of mind, body and soul, leading towards a state of self realization and liberation. They are a very important part of the path towards connecting with to truth. They help us to make sense of the way forward while on this deeply transforming journey, enriching our daily lives and our physical practice.