Commonly known as “power yoga,” ashtanga yoga is a flowing practice that emphasizes challenging posture series and strong breathing.
he teachings of ashtanga yoga are derived from Pantanjali’s Eightfold Path, a series of disciplines that are widely considered the moral codes of the yogic tradition. In the West it is mostly associated with the form of hatha yoga taught by K. Pattabhi Jois. Jois studied with Sri Krishnamacharya in the 1930s, and much later began teaching at his yoga school in India.
Ashtanga is well known for its rigorous posture series. The poses are linked together and taught in set sequences combined with a strong ujjayi breath. The breathing in ashtanga is a vital element of the practice. Each series of poses must be mastered before the student embarks on the next.
There are five series in total, though very few students venture past the first two series. The primary series is thought to be detoxifying, with its emphasis on forward bends while the second series emphasizes backward bends. The other series are quite advanced and are taught only to experienced students.
Ashtanga is a strength-oriented practice, with intense stretching in most of the poses. Therefore it is necessary to find an experienced teacher who understands the specifics of the poses for your body so that you can avoid injury and competitiveness.