Let's make a distinction between the Ashtanga philosophy/theory laid out in the yoga sutras by the sage Patanjali cerca 2nd century bce and the physical asana practice popularized by Pattabhi Jois since 1948. When Patanjali codified the yoga sutras and explained Ashtanga yoga, it's almost certain that he did not have in mind the asana sequence that Pattabhi Jois learned from Krishnamacharaya and made world famous. With that being said, it is not essential to practice asanas in Pattabhi's Ashtanga Vinyasa sequence to be practicing Ashtanga theory of Patanjali. Also, it is important to say if applied properly, one can be integrating Patanjali's theory as one practices the vinyasa asana sequence of Pattabhi Jois.
That is the way I practice it and teach it.
Pantanjali Yoga Sutra
Chapter 2 verse 29
मभणनमभासनप्रािामाभप्रत्याहायधायिाध्यानसभाधमोऽष्टाव अङ्गाणन ॥ २९॥
Yama niyam asana pranayama pratyahara dharana dhyana samadhayo-a-shtava anggani Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, are the limbs of Yoga.
1. Yama - Abstaining from negative behavior
2. Niyama - Observing positive behavior
3. Asana - posture, stable and comfortable
4. Pranayama - regulation of prana - subtle energy
5. Pratayahra - sense withdrawl
6. Dharana - concentration, contemplation
7. Dhyana - mediation
8. Samadhi - self realization, liberation
Ashtanga is a progressive system for personal internal exploration, self development and transformation, self realization and spiritual liberation.
99% PRACTICE 1% THEORY
Tristhana is the Method!
When practicing the Ashtanga yoga taught by Pattabhi Jois you are intending to apply tristhana.
Tristhana means 3 points of attention or 3 aspects of practice:
1. ASANA with BANDHA; pose with energetic locks
2. VINYASA; breathing movement system
3. DRISTHI; gazing points
With correct application of Tristhana one will succeed in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th limbs of Ashtanga.
1. Asana with Bandha
ASANAS are dynamic postures that challenge and develop physical balance, open and align the bodies muscles, bones and nervous system, reset the internal organs and bring health and vitality back.
PATANJALI YOGA SUTRA 2:46 “Stirha Sukham Asanam” Correct posture establishes comfort and stability.
BANDHA MEANS ENERGETIC LOCK or CORE CONTRACTION they are an integral part of asana and vinyasa practice.
Bandhas are utilized to stabilize the postures as well as contain, gather and direct subtle vital energy known as PRANA.
There are 3 main bandhas;
1. Mula bandha - Root lock;
Commonly taught as squeeze your anus is as lock at the pelvic floor, perineum and is activated thru a combination of 2 mudras. Vajroli mudra, genital contraction, similar to the restraint of urination and Ashwini (horse)
mudra, anal contraction as if to restrain a bowel movement. The two mudras join together to activate the lift of the pelvic floor, perineum.
2. Uddiyana bandha - Abdominal lock is activated thru contraction of the lower abdominal pelvic region, navel to pubis is drawn towards the anus.
Known as 'flying upwards' as it creates integrity channel for the Kundalini energy to move up thru the abdominal region. Draw the lower abdomen in and keep it firm, pulled toward the anus, tailbone, sacrum and lumbar spine. The effort to stimulate this bandha firms the abdominals and helps to stabilize and support the lower back, lumbar region. Uddiyana bandha is applied in most postures and connects
with mula bandha.
3. Jalandhara bandha - Throat lock is activated by pressing the chin to the chest, closing the throat, neck and locking the energy in the thoracic region. Raise the chest to meet the chin, tilt the head down lock the chin between the clavicle bones. This helps stimulate the consciousness around the heart. It pressurizes the prana in the thorax, solar plexus and heart plexus. It is similar to the way a cap maintains the pressure on a carbonated soda bottle. Jalandahara is applied in downward dog and a few other postures but is mainly applied when practicing pranayama with kumbhaka, breath retention.
VINYASA means breathing movement system and it implies flow of movement, the linking and syncing of movements and poses. The breath and movement flow create internal heat that 'brings the blood to boil' and this helps to eliminate tension and toxins stored in the body. Vinyasa establishes breath awareness enabling the ability to equalize the inhale and the exhale and create a steady flow of movement. The breath initiates and completes the movements in and out of poses. As a general rule inhalations are linked to upward, opening, expansive movements and exhalations are linked to closing, downward, contractive movements.
Vinyasa also refers to the count, the number of breaths and movements into and out of a pose or a sequence of poses.
DRISTHI means gazing points. Dristhis help us withdraw our senses, they give an energetic direction for the pose and they exercise the eyes. The eyes are crossed and directed at one point. Dristhi's helps purify and stabilize the functioning of the mind and develop body / mind FOCUS
There are nine dristhis taught in Ashtanga: Nasagrai - Tip of the nose, Urdhva- Up, Brumadhya - Eyebrow center, Hastagrai - Hand / tip of the middle finger, Angushta - Thumbs, Parshva - Far Right Side, Parshva - Far Left Side, Nabi chakra - Navel, Padagrai - Foot / the big toe.
Dristhi during practice helps you to 'mind your own business'.
4th limb Pranayama - restraint of vital energy - extending the breath - breathing exercises.
Patanjali’s Sutra 2:49; Tasmin sati shvasa prashvsayoh gati vichchedah pranayama. This means when the posture is ‘perfected’ one can begin breath control.
Pranayama is generally a separate practice applied only after perfection in asana is attained. Commonly known as breathing exercises, pranayama involves much more than merely inhaling and exhaling. Patanjali defines pranayama as the regulation of incoming and out going breath with retention.
The breathing cycle is in 4 parts; inhale, a gap at the 'peak', exhale and a gap at the 'valley'. Pranayama practices use various breathing exercises and the retention of breath to cultivate and observe prana, life force. Pranayama can cure disease, purify the nervous system and bring the mind under control.
Prana can also be described as bio electromagnetic energies that flow inside us, filling us, moving us and keeping us alive. The control, extension, expansion and retention of breath is the way to identify, activate and experience prana, this is pranayama. Pranayama is used to concentrate on the energy in various regions and functions in order to restore, maintain health and promote
elevation of consciousness.
The link between the body, mind and the breath is an important one. One can easily see how one's mental state can affect the breathing, but in reality if one gets control and is able to regulate ones breath, one can actually control and regulate one's mental activities.
That is why we say the breath is the king of the mind.
Mantra de Apertura
Rezo a los pies de loto del gurú supremo
Que enseña su saber, despertando la gran alegría del Ser revelado
Que actúa como médico de la jungla
Capaz de eliminar la ilusion causada por el veneno de una existencia condicionada.
Ante Patanjali, encarnación de Adisesa, que con su color blanco,
Mil cabezas radiantes (en su forma de serpiente divina, Ananta)
y su aspecto humano a partir de los hombros empuña la espada de la discriminación
junto a una rueda de fuego que simboliza el tiempo infinito y una caracola que
representa para él el sonido divino,
Traditional ASHTANGA Mantras
Vande Gurunam charanaravinde
Samsara halahala mohashantyai
Sahasra sirasam svetam
I bow to the lotus feet of the Supreme Guru
who awakens insight into the happiness of pure Being,
who is the refuge, the jungle physician,
who eliminates the delusion caused by the
poisonous herb of Samsara - conditioned existence.
I prostrate before the sage Patanjali
who has thousands of radiant, white heads (as the divine serpent, Ananta)
and who has, as far as his arms, assumed the form of a man
holding a conch shell (divine sound), a wheel (discus of light or infinite time)
and a sword (discrimination).
Swasthi-praja bhyah pari pala yantam
Nya-yena margena mahi-mahishaha
Lokaha-samastha sukhino bhavanthu
Om Shanti shanti shantihi
May prosperity be glorified
May administrators rule the world with law and justice
May all things that are sacred be protected
And may all people of the world be happy and prosperous
Om peace, peace, perfect peace
Mantra de Cierre
Gloria a la prosperidad
Que los gobernantes guíen el mundo con ley y justicia
Que todas las cosas sagradas gocen de protecctión
Y que los habitantes del mundo sean felices y prósperos.
Om Shanti shanti shantihi
UPCOMING INTRO COURSES
Introduction courses are for beginners or students new to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. The course details the 'Foundations of Theory' and 'The Practice Method' 'ONE by ONE' slowly and thoroughly the technique is applied into practice.