Brief History of Ashtanga Yoga
- Ashtanga Yoga is a system of yoga that was popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois in the 20th century, but its roots can be traced back to ancient India. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which were written in the second century BCE, outline the eight limbs of yoga, one of which is Ashtanga Yoga. This form of yoga emphasizes the synchronization of breath with a progressive series of postures that promote physical, mental, and spiritual development.
- The modern form of Ashtanga Yoga was developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, who was a student of T. Krishnamacharya. Jois began teaching the Ashtanga Yoga system in Mysore, India, in the 1930s, and it gained popularity among Westerners in the 1970s and 1980s.
- The Ashtanga Yoga system consists of six series of postures, each of which must be mastered before moving on to the next. The first series, known as the Primary Series, focuses on building strength and flexibility in the body, while the later series incorporate more challenging postures and inversions.
- The practice of Ashtanga Yoga involves a set sequence of postures that are performed in a specific order. The student moves through each posture with the guidance of a teacher, who provides hands-on adjustments to ensure proper alignment and safety. The practice is traditionally done early in the morning and is accompanied by a specific breathing technique called Ujjayi Pranayama.
- Ashtanga Yoga has gained a reputation for being a physically demanding practice that requires discipline and dedication. However, it is also said to be a deeply transformative practice that promotes physical health, mental clarity, and spiritual growth. Today, Ashtanga Yoga continues to be taught around the world and has inspired the development of other styles of yoga that incorporate similar elements, such as Vinyasa Yoga.