About Ashtanga Yoga

  • guruji-karyn-sharath

    Guruji, Karyn, Sharath.  Old shala, Lakshmipuram.

Ashtanga Yoga Melbourne

Ashtanga Yoga Melbourne is dedicated to preserving and carrying forth the tradition of Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915 – 2009), his daughter Saraswati and grandson R. Sharath Jois (current director of KPJAYI). The studio is a nurturing environment with dedicated teachers and practitioners who come together to practice for their own well-being and that of their community. Through our commitment to practice we endeavor to cultivate the qualities of steadiness and ease both on and off the yoga mat.

Ashtanga Yoga

Yoga is a philosophy for being; it is far more than just a physical practice.   It teaches us how to focus the mind and move beyond personal limitations to live more comfortably in our own skin.  Yoga enables the integration of body, mind and spirit, which ultimately leads us to a fuller understanding of our own true nature and an opportunity for radiant health.

Ashtanga means eight limbs (Ashta = eight, anga = limbs)

The eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga are:

  1. Yama: self restraint (or self discipline)
  2. Niyama: observances (or right living)
  3. Asana: physical posture
  4. Pranayama: breath control
  5. Pratyahara: sense withdrawal
  6. Dharana: concentration
  7. Dhyana: meditation
  8. Samadhi: freedom

Pattabhi Jois teaches that mastering the 3rd limb, asana, provides a firm foundation from where the student can explore the other limbs.

In Ashtanga Yoga the student slowly works through different series of asanas (postures) in sequential order, incorporating vinyasa (movement breathing system; one breath equals one movement), breath control and drishti, meaning gaze point.

Asana: works to purify, strengthen and give flexibility to the body

Breath: a steady, even, conscious breath is to be used at all times.  This purifies the nervous system and energises the body.

Drishti: this is the place you look whilst in an asana. Drishti creates focus and concentration and helps stabilise the mind.

When these elements are practiced together, consistently over a period of time the body becomes light and strong and practice becomes like a moving meditation.  Being aware of each breath and being fully present enables a letting go of expectations and self-judgements and there is the possibility of moving beyond perceived physical and mental restrictions.

The benefit of Ashtanga Yoga comes out of the effort put in.  Practice, practice, practice!  This style of yoga requires dedication, motivation and faith and the practice is a never-ending journey on and off the mat.

As my teacher says, “ You need to experience yoga within you!”.  It is not something to read or talk about, it is a real living practice, which is at the same time both challenging and very rewarding, and can be practised by everyone!

For more information on Ashtanga Yoga go to www.kpjayi.org/the-practice

Listen to Karyn talk through the traditional Sanskrit count for Surya Namaskara A & B.

Listen to Karyn explain why we practise Surya Namaskara A & B.