From Stacy Ingahm, owner of Ashtanga Yoga School, Raleigh's only traditional morning Mysore program.
Ashtanga yoga is a traditional vinyasa style practice with its modern roots in Mysore, India. This is a dynamic practice designed to purify the body and calm the mind by combining a set sequence of poses with breath and movement (vinyasa). As a young man in the 1920’s and 1930’s, Sri K Pattabhi Jois learned this practice from his teacher, T Krishnamacharya. In 1948, fter many years of practicing and teaching yoga at the Sanskrit college in Mysore, India, Jois established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute at his home in Laxmipurum. In the mid-60’s and 70’s, westerners began coming to his school and learning the Ashtanga yoga method, and today this same method is practiced and taught all over the world.
The Ashtanga system of yoga assigns one movement or position to each breath throughout the practice in a specific order. This allows for several things – one being a consistent transmission of the practice over many generations. Also the students, once the sequence is committed to memory, can practice at their own pace, and deep focus can be achieved throughout the practice, so that over time, they develop better concentration (strong mind) along with a strong and flexible body.
Ashtanga is a practice designed to warm the body from within. Combining strong, steady breath and movements causes the body to sweat, and expel toxins residing in the muscles and organs. This purifies the body, and strengthens the immune system and nervous system.
There are six distinct sequences in the Ashtanga system of yoga: Primary Series (Yoga Chikitsa/Yoga Therapy), Intermediate Series (Nadi Shodana/Nerve Cleansing), and Advanced A series through Advanced D series. For most people, Primary Series is plenty. For those students that have mastered Primary Series, adding Intermediate Series to their practice offers a "balanced diet of yoga". Advanced A-D series are for advanced practitioners of yoga ready to hone their practice, physically and mentally.
Learn more about this the Ashtanga program at www.aysraleigh.com.