is the eight-limbed path of yoga articulated in the Yoga Darsana of the sage Patanjali, or Patanjali's Yoga Sutra.
yama: "internal observances or constraints;" attending to our relationship with ourselves.
niyama: "social observances;" attending to our relationship with others
asana: "posuture;" attending to our relationship with our bodies and the physical world.
pranayama: "breath control/breath liberation;" attending to our relationship with breath and life-force (prana)
pratyahara: "sense control;" attending to our relationship with our internal world.
dharana: "concentration:" attending to. our relationship with our attention.
dhyana: "meditation;" attending to our relationship with our awareness.
samadhi:'"absorption;" attending to our relationship with the the rhythms of nature and the divine.
ashtanga vinyasa yoga
was articulated by krishnamacharya and further organized by patthabhi jois as. "curriculum" of postures in sequence that strengthen and stretch the body and breath, and potentially the mind.
We generally begin with the primary series (yoga chikitsa; yoga therapy). the first series is designed to purify the gross body and release toxins. when practiced with consistency over a long period of time helps the body body becomes strong, resilient, and the mind gains clarity. If therapeutic postures or modifications will support the well-being of the student, we may adjust this starting point.
The three focal points of an ashtanga practice are referred to as tristhana - asana (posture including bandha; lock), breath, and drsthi (gaze point).
These tools in conjunction with synchronized breathing/moving allow the attention to move inward rather than fixating on the external..
Ashtanga yoga as taught by the late pattabhi jois (the man most known for introducing ashtanga yoga to western cultures) is taught in two forms; mysore style and led class.
mysore is the name of a large city in south india and is the place where krishnamacharya taught a yoga methodology to pattabhi jois, and where people from around the world travel to learn this method now.
mysore style is a daily self practice under the guidance of a teacher. each student receives individual attention and is given small bits a series to work on while committing the sequence of poses to memory. this allows for time to acclimate. once the poses are memorized, the movements linked with slow attentive breathing, become meditative.
a mysore room is a quiet, peaceful place for self research. the teacher is a guide only, there to assist when she/he sees fit, to answer questions as they come up, and to offer support. a six day a week practice is highly recommended, taking one day for rest. a practice week consists of five days of mysore practice and one led class.
all students new to the mysore yoga methodology must commit to a full month and should plan to build up to 5-6 days a week of practice in the first few months. a strong foundation for any relationship needs time, patience, and commitment. a minimum commitment of three days a week is necessary to have a mysore ashtanga practice.
led primary series classes
are recommended only for students with a consistent mysore practice - they are not recommended as a way to “learn the postures" or sample the ashtanga vinyasa methodology.. in a led class a teacher guides students through the primary series of ashtanga yoga (in some cases just a portion of the series is taught). led class has many benefits: strength building, keeping correct vinyasa count, providing clarity of mind, and encouraging efficiency in movement, therefore steadying the mind towards a single pointed awareness (ekagra).
A mysore room is kept sacred by the collective actions taken in and around the space. here are a few important things to consider in helping to maintain a quiet, nurturing, clean practice space for all. By entering the shala you committing to observe the following:
Be gentle, patient, and kind to yourself and others.
Use a "no adjustments" card if you do not want to receive adjustments or assistance. Make this clearly visible at the right or left hand corner of the front of your mat. These cards are available next to the sign-in sheet. The teacher will only offer suggestions or make requests to support the quality of attention in the room and the sustainability and/or safety of your practice.
Keep yourself and your belongings (yoga mat, towel, yoga clothing) clean and fragrance free.
Shower before practice, wear clean clothes and use a clean mat towel. Everyday.
Pay class dues on time. Practice generosity when sliding-scale or donation based classes are offered.
Ask if you need assistance with dues as result of financial limitation.
Sign in, legibly. Every time you come in. Yes, you.
Be as quiet and efficient as possible when entering the room and preparing for practice.
Leave approximately 2 feet in front of your mat, and practice seated postures toward the front of your mat.
Be respectful of those around you, and only place your hands or feet on another’s mat when required by the sequence.
Do not add on, skip poses, or take poses out of the sequence unless you've discussed with the teacher.
After back-bending, move to the finishing area or back of room to complete inversions and finishing poses.
Be sure to take rest for at least 5-10 minutes at the end of practice. It is essential to digest and allow the mind/body organism to assimilate before continuing with your day.
Yoga is therapeutic in many ways, but it is not psychotherapy or physical therapy. Seek guidance from a professional in those fields if you need the support that they can offer to your health and well-being.
You are the authority of your body. Let the teacher know if you do not want adjustments or any particular adjustment. If something doesn’t feel right, let them know. If you want them to stop, tell them. The learning process is a relationship, you are responsible for at least half of it.
If you have injuries or special needs, tell the teacher.
Study and practice the yamas and niyamas. Practicing yoga in the shala is the easy part, and should be a support to living the practice in every relationship.
what to bring and recommendations
bring a yoga mat and small towel to wipe up any sweat around your mat after you finish practice. it is recommended not to eat within 3 hours before practice, and not to drink water during or just before practice. drinking water cools the body, and the intention of practice is to heat it for purification.
"ladies holiday" - menstrual cycle
it is recommended to take the first 2-3 days off during your period. at this time the body is working to release blood in a downward (apanic) direction. the ashtanga practice works in contrast to this action, asking that we gather the energy through the pelvic floor and lift it upward (pranic). in order to honor and facilitate the natural course of the menstrual cycle, taking rest during times of heavy flow is recommended. it is of course a personal choice as experiences vary from person to person. it is also recommended that inversions (headstand and shoulder stand sequences) not be performed during the menstrual cycle for the same reason.