THE ORIGIN OF ASHTANGAYOGA
The style of Ashtangayoga, known as the eight branches yoga, has been described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as a guideline to live a totally fulfilling life.
In the late 1920’s, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, at the age of 12, began his studies with the teacher Sri T. Krisnamacharya to learn the principles of yoga and the depth of the philosophy connected to it:
THE EIGHT BRANCHES
Yama- ancient rules
Niyama- observances, discipline of body and mind
Pranayama- development of vital energy
Pratyahara- control of the senses
Samadhi- total fulfillment
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois not only studied Asanas, but also dedicated himself to teach them, in particular the Vinyasa style, that is to say a sequence of connected postures, synchronized with breath.
ìWhen breath and movement flow effortlessly and in perfect harmony, then the practice of ashtangayoga trascends consciousness and evolves in the lightness of a meditation in movement. ì – Lino Miele.
Ashtangayoga is a dynamic practice which enables our body to achieve flexibility, strenght and stability.
The movement between the postures is fundamental and is a part of the practice itself.
The synchrony between the breath and the movement is called Vinyasa, and to be achieved requires to focus our eyes on a fixed point.
There is an order of the asanas, each one is preparatory and balance the posture that precedes or follows.
In the Ashtanga practice there are different series where the first one is therapeutical and favours the balance bewteen body and mind; the second one goes deeper and purifies Nadi, or nervous channels; the advanced series require a very profound dedition because they work on strength, balance and the stability of the body and the mind.
The breating technique is called Ujjayi, the victorious breath, and it’s achieved by relaxing the throat and lightly closing the glottis, in order to produce a sound.
In this way, the respiration is relaxed and deep and will go together with each movement of the practice, creating the rhythm of the same. Moreover, this breathing technique allows to reduce heartbeats even if there’s an increase in metabolism, and at the same time, toxines are expelled through abundant sweating, by which we have better body tissue exchanges.
Bandhas are another key principle of the practice, they are also called “locks” and allow to regulate the flow of prana, or vital force, and avoid the collapse of the inner organs to let the diaphragm to expand to its maximum.
Mula Bandha is the contraction of the anal muscle and the perineum.
Uddyana Bandha is the contraction of the lower part of the abdomen towards the spinal cord, and it’s achieved drawing back the belly, under the navel and towards the lower back.
Jalandhara Bandha is the throat lock, by lightly lowering the chin towards the chest.
Dristi is the point to focus your eyes to create the inner concentration and attention.
For each movement there is a different Dristi (there are nine of them).
The duty of the teacher is to pass their knowledge as learnt from their teacher, putting into practice the notion of Parampara, that is to pass the knowledge from teacher to learner.
TIPS FOR A GOOD PRACTICE
It is better to practice on an empty stomach, do not drink during practice and half an hour before and after class.
Use comfortable clothes, it is better not wear wristbands or necklaces, to let your body free.
Please bring to lesson your personal mat and towel.
To respect yourself and others, please come to Shala with a clean body, after having taken a shower.