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, heat and building of Yang energy.
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.