What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?

Ashtanga Vinyasa is a set sequence of postures, practiced in a precise flow (vinyasa) linked by the breath. The series is mastered one asana at a time, with the student only moving to the next more advanced asana once the last asana has been mastered.

 

Every movement in the series is clearly defined and students are discouraged from making any changes to this sequence, as this set sequence becomes a tool to analyze the body and the mind as we come to the mat daily and practice the same sequence.

Tristana is the foundation of Ashtanga yoga practice and comprises three parts;

  • Ujjayi breath also known as victorious breath is a type of breathing and is one of the most important aspects of yoga in general

  • Drishti or gaze points. There is a set gaze point for each movement and this allows the student to withdraw the mind from external stimuli and increase focus and stability

  • Bandhas or body locks which lock "prana" (energy) in the body and involves contraction of muscle groups

This practice is elegant but powerful and creates heat in the body, which increases flexibility and helps in the elimination of toxins. The focus on "drishti" points and on the breath will build  concentration over time, leading gradually to a heightened sense of awareness and deeper connection to, and understanding of, life, oneself, and others.

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