Last January 2018 I was very lucky to be able to study Ashtanga Yoga with Saraswati Jois, the daughter of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This was a five week long adventure, together with my family, to Mysore – India.
After one Month back home, I guess its about time I explain a little bit more about this practice I fell in love with, almost 4 years ago.
What is Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga (Sanskrit for eight-limbed) is a form of Raja Yoga or Hatha Yoga based on Vinyasa, the synchronization and coordination of breath and movement, Gazing and internal energetic locks called Bandhas. Ashtanga Yoga is one of the most widely spread forms of yoga nowadays, which we can all thank to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his family who spread this ancient knowledge around the globe. He was a student of his guru Sri T. Krishnamacharya for over twenty years, together with other great yogi’s like, his son T.K.V. Desikachar, Indra Devi and B.K.S Iyengar.
The system consist out of Six Series of specialized vigorous asanas (yoga postures), but has a more profound depth to it than meets the eye. Besides the physical aspect of the practice, great importance is given to the integration in ones life of the Eight Limbs of Patanjali’s yoga philosophy.
The Eight limbs of Yoga are:
- Yamas or Ethical disciplines: non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, right use of energy, non-greed
- Niyamas or Self observances: cleanliness, contentment, discipline, study of the self and spiritual texts, surrendering to Nature)
- Asanas or Postures
- Pranayama or Breath control
- Pratyahara or Sense withdrawal
- Dharana or Concentration
- Dhyana or Meditation
- Samadhi or a State of Joy and Inner peace
I'll go deeper into these eight limbs the following weeks, so stay tuned if you are interested in yogaphilosophy.
The traditional Mysore style is practiced 6 days a week, except on Moondays and women get a monthly 3 days off, called ‘Ladies holiday’.
Like Pattabhi Jois explained in his famous statement 'Ashtanga Yoga is 99% practice, 1% theory' , it is only in the experience that one can learn and really know what it is all about.
I must say, this practice has a addictive component to it. Once you are hooked, you start to let your life evolve around your practice as much as possible. With two kids running around and a lot of interests to feed, it can be be a juggle to keep things up. The only way to do it is sleep less...
The good part is that you will need less sleep altogether and still feel energetic. A light and healthy feeling is your reward after doing the routine, and thats more than worth the effort.
Did you get curious? You could come and try it out at Stepping Stones, Belsele on Wednesday 7/3 – 14/3 – 21/3/2018, 19:00-20:00.
See you there!