Ashtanga Yoga

Louise Ellis

 Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a powerful dynamic form of yoga which produces intense heat and purification in the practitioner. This practice was given to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois during his many years of study with Sri T. Krishnamacharya, beginning in 1927. At the request of his Guru,transmitting this practice became his life's work. Founding  the  KPJ Ashtanga Yoga  Institute in Mysore, India, he has inspired and changed  the lives of countless people around the world through his many many years of devoted teaching.

Guruji passed on May 18, 2009. All his students will remain forever grateful to him for his generosity of spirit and his  tireless effort.  The Ashtanga Yoga system is based on therapeutic and progressive sequences of yoga asanas, which are synchronized with a specific breathing technique (ujjayi pranayama), bandhas (internal locks) and drishti ( looking place). The sequences are practiced daily and developed over the course of several years.


The most traditional form of practice is Mysore style in which students practice with meditative awareness at their own individual pace within a group setting. New poses are added gradually as ability is gained in the practice. There are six sequences in the ashtanga system. The first ( Yoga Chikitsa) grounds and restores health to the physical body. The second ( Nadi Shodana) cleans and purifies the subtle nerves for meditation.  The remaining three ( Sthira Bhaga) consist of advanced asanas to  further refine and bring strength, grace and humility to the practitioner. Over time the practice leads to the elimination of the six internal  poisons surrounding the heart. These are kama (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion) mada (sloth) and matsarya (envy). The benefits are best experienced with consistent balanced practice, for this reason students are encouraged to make a long term  commitment and develop their own daily practice in a traditional Mysore class setting. Though challenging to begin with continued daily practice will bring healing change on the physical, emotional and mental levels. All levels are welcome.