INTRODUCTION TO THE BASIC CONCEPT OF ASHTANGA YOGA

ashtanga yoga 

source: jaropavek.com 

The world of yoga is full of various terminology, which every yogi is gradually learns. Although yoga has many styles and focuses on different aspects of our body and soul, many names and phrases are often very similar or universally applicable to all areas of yoga. Whatever style of yoga you practice, the loving term "Namaste" unites us all.

If you have just embarked on a journey of learning the unique style of Ashtanga yoga, you should also get acquainted with its basic concepts step by step. Behind the whole concept of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is an Indian yoga teacher and Sanskrit scientist K. Pattabhi Jois, who founded the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India in 1948. Ashtanga yoga is often promoted as a modern form of classical Indian yoga based on the synchronization of breath with the movement. Although this energetic style is considered sometimes physically demanding, the knowledge of the basics brings only the positives into our lives. Knowing the basic ideas behing this style is definitely worth it!

  1. Ashtanga

If we dive into the depths of the very name of this style, then by dividing the word „Ashtanga“ we get the terms Ashta(eight) and Anga (limbs). Ashtanga is a Sanskrit term meaning "eight limbs," which refers to the eight limbs, or the eightfold path of yoga, as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.

  1. Mysore

Following the knowledge of the Ashtanga yoga terminology, the name can be associated with the Indian city ehwre the Pattabhi Yoga Institute is located, where he taught his students' unique yoga styles until 2009. Subsequently, after his death, his daughter Saraswathi and granddaughter Sharmila continued his legacy.

Mysore is also associated with self-directed variations of Ashtanga yoga, which are practiced based on the students' own pace and skill level. The teacher does not give them the strict order of the asanas, but rather supervises them and gradually explains everything they need to know. Through their own personal  practice, students move step by step at their own pace, and at the same time share energy with others.

  1. Days of the month (s), Moon Days

According to Pattabhi, some specific days during the month or Moon Days were inappropriate for practicing Ashtanga yoga and increasing the risk of injury during exercise. These days include the monthly full moon and new moon days that should be used specifically for rest. In addition to rest days, Pattabhi recommended practicing Ashtanga yoga about six times a week in the morning.

  1. Women's holidays

This interesting-sounding term in Ashtanga yoga is a recommendation for women in the early days of their period, when, according to the main concept of Ashtanga yoga,  they should take a break from practicing asanas. This break should last approximately during the first three days.

  1. The „Ujjayi“ breath

It is a type of controlled abd conscious breathing technique during which you breathe in a constant, even rhythm through both nostrils and partially hold the vocal cords still. You should practice the breath of Ujjaya during the entire Ashtanga yoga series. The word „ujjayi“ in translation means "victory".

  1. Surya Namaskar type A and B

These terms refer to the initial warm-up sets of Ashtanga yoga, which are also known as the variations of the Sun Salutation. While Surya Namaskar A is a classic greeting, variation B is enriched with a few more asanas.

  1. Chakrasana

This interesting name is a reverse sign that is used in the primary Ashtanga series as a way to move from poses where you lie on your back, directly to the position of the chaturanga.

Whether you have been the part of the world of Ashtanga yoga for some time now, or you are just getting to understand this style, these individual concepts are guaranteed to help you. Finally, we conclude our article with a quote from the founder of this unique style of yoga:

 

"The whole system of ashtanga practiced with devotion leads to freedom in the human heart."
 
- K. Pattabhi Jois