Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient form of yoga. The yoga form has been passed on from the yoga masters to the students for hundreds of years. Yoga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, who made ashtanga yoga popular in the West, lived until he turned 93 (May 2009). His grandson Sri R. Sharath Jois has taken over the position of Head of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, South India.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is one of the 4 best known students of Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya is recognized as the founder of the most widely practiced yoga practices in the West. He lived until he was over 100 years old. The other 3 of his best known students are the brother-in-law B.K.S. Iyengar, son T.K.V Desikachar and Indra Devi.
According to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga yoga is the most original form of yoga described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Ash means 8 and anga means limbs or parts. These 8 parts are ..
- Yama (Ethical Disciplines)
- Niyama (self-observation)
- Asana (yoga postures)
- Pranayama (breathing exercises)
- Pratyahara (omitted sense senses)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (absorption)
Practice is the key to Ashtanga yoga; as the Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois says:
“Do your practice and all is coming”
This means that through regular practice, the body will be able to perform many different yoga poses correctly. What is more important, however, is that through this process you will be able to gain greater insight into both the nature of the body and the mind, thereby getting to know yourself better.