Nadira Mohsin
KPJAYI Authorized Ashtanga Yoga Teacher
What is Ashtanga Yoga?

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a style of yoga codified and popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois during the 20th century which is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is named after the eight limbs of yoga mentioned in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Both Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois, his grandson, encourage practice of Ashtanga Yoga – all eight limbs. The first two limbs – Yamas and Niyamas – are given special emphasis to be practiced in conjunction with the 3rd and 4th limbs (asana and pranayama).

According to Patanjali, the path of internal purification for revealing the Universal Self consists of the following eight spiritual practices:

Yama [moral codes]
Niyama [self-purification and study]
Asana [posture]
Pranayama [breath control]
Pratyahara [sense control]
Dharana [concentration]
Dhyana [meditation]
Samadhi [absorption into the Universal]

Why Ashtanga Yoga is Different?

Traditional Ashtanga is made up of six series of asanas, increasing in difficulty as you progress through the different series. The series are the primary, intermediate, and the four advanced series. Each series builds upon the last series to prepare you for the next.

Each asana in the different series is designed to build on the last to prepare you for the next asana as well. The Ashtanga system is a set progression that you will do each time you practice.

There are two different teaching methods for the Ashtanga series too. One is the Mysore style class and the other is a more typically led class. The led classes usually focus on the primary series, which are the foundational poses.