Ashatnga Yoga Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
Ashtanga Vinyasa is a potent form of Hatha Yoga that was formalized in
the latter half of the twentieth century by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
The method integrates breath, movement, gaze and posture to open up the
experience of the body, and to encourage the currents of our creativity
to flow. Though it can be demanding, Ashtanga can be practiced by
nearly anyone. There are no requirements but a love of inquiry and
experimentation, tempered with an openness to the unfamiliar, and a
readiness to experience emotional release while working with the
challenges of an unusual contemplative form. Immersion in the practice
can have a profound impact.
Those who practice assiduously can find themselves transcending rigid tendencies of mind, dispelling essentialist projections, and rediscovering traces of the sublime in everyday life.
Mysore classes are the principal medium of instruction for Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. They are modeled after the classes originally taught by Pattabhi Jois that would instruct his students individually, teaching them unique sequences of breath, posture and movement. He would then have his students practice those sequences side by side, in silence, under his watchful eye.
Though Pattabhi's methods are inimitable, his "Mysore-style" classes are one of the mainstays of the global Ashtanga community. The same classes are still taught by the Jois family in Mysore today, and in Ashtanga studios around the world. In comparison with other forms of instruction, these classes allow students to move with the rhythmic flow of their own breath, and so to immerse themselves more fully in the experience of breathing.
This is vital to the Ashtanga practice. It encourages the kind of focused awareness from which meditative insights can arise.
There is no better way to learn Ashtanga Vinyasa than under the direction of an experienced Mysore teacher, alongside other established practitioners. At the Yoga Workshop, our method of instruction is simple and relaxed. On your first day of Mysore, we show you a sequence of breath and movement called Sun Salutations. You take time to explore the sequence and absorb it into your body. When you return, you repeat the sequence, and if you are comfortable with what you have learned, we show you more. In this way, your practice slowly builds, without the effort of memorization.
This method of learning works directly with the natural intelligence of the body while pointedly suspending the involvement of the intellect. It inures the body gradually to the sequencing through measured repetition, slowly conditioning the currents of the subtle breath to flow into the unique patterns that are carefully defined by the practice itself. In time, those patterns become second nature. Then the postures begin to flow spontaneously, as visceral expressions of an internal unfolding of breath.