It's a yoga practice based on dynamic and challenging asana sequences to build spiritual strength, combining the principles of Patanjali's eight Ashtanga branches with the development of Vinyasa (synchronization of movement with breath) by T. Krishnamacharya and K. Pattabhi Jois. Pattabhi Jois.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a living tradition, with the relationship between teacher and student at its epicentre. At root, it's a spiritual practice that purifies heart, body and mind, illuminating one's own divine nature.
To achieve this, we work with 3 important places of action and attention called Tristana. These cover three levels of purification: body, nervous system and mind. They are always performed in conjunction with each other. Asana the posture (Bandhas) purifies, strengthens and gives flexibility to the body. Breathing must be stable, slow and full-bodied, with the same length on inhalation as on exhalation, to purify the nervous system. Dristhi is the direction you look in a posture. There are nine dristhis: nose, 3rd eye, navel, thumb, hands, feet, top, right side and left side. Dristhi purifies and stabilizes the functioning of the mind. Tristana is the foundation of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice. These three tools transform asana (physical) practice from a simple bodily exercise into a total mind-body experience.
We studied Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga with Mark & Joanne Darby and Shankara Darby. Darby and Joanne were part of the first group of Pattabhi Jois students in Mysore in the 1970s, where they lived for 4 years. They then continued their practice in India on a regular basis from 2001 to 2009, until the death of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
There are 6 Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga series. The first is designed to realign and detoxify the body. The intermediate series has an impact on purifying the nervous system. Most practitioners get all the benefits of the first two series, and those who want a job at cirque du soleil (hahaha) go to the advanced series. All levels of practice will lead to what you need to understand.
With regular practice, and when the three components (Tristana) are in harmony, synchronized with movement and breathing through the sequences of postures, the yogi (the sadhaka) enters the seventh part of Ashtanga Yoga, meditation (dhyana), then to arrive in a state of yoga. In order to regain integrity.
An essential aspect of the internal purification that Pattabhi Jois teaches concerns the six poisons that surround the spiritual heart. In the yoga shastra, God is said to dwell in our hearts in the form of light, but this light is covered by six poisons: kama, krodha, moha, lobha, matsarya and mada. These are desire, anger, delusion, greed, envy and laziness. When yoga practice is sustained with great diligence and dedication over a long period of time, the heat generated by it burns away these poisons, and the light of our inner nature is revealed.