Ashtanga Yoga, The Practice

Ashtanga Yoga is a system of Hatha Yoga developed by the late Krishna Pattabhi Jois in the south Indian city of Mysore.

The system’s philosophical background is based on Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutras”, an eight fold method for stilling the mind and turning all the organs of sensation inwards.

Ashtanga Yoga. Sage Patanjali's statue

Ashtanga Yoga:

AŚTAU: eight
ANGA : limb
YOGA: “the cessation of disturbances in the mind”


The physical aspect of the practice is rooted in the Vinyasa method for practising asana discovered by Jois and his teacher Sri. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya in an ancient and obscure text called “The Yoga Korunta”.

Jois developed a total of six sequences that are learned in a progressive and linear manner and are taught to the student one pose at a time. This is what is called the “Mysore Style” of teaching and practising

Once the student has shown proficiency and steadiness of mind, breath and body in the pose; the next one is taught. Each one of these poses requires a level of strength and flexibility that increases as the student advances through the sequences. In this way, each pose prepares the body and mind for the next one and no student will ever be asked to try a pose that he hasn’t been prepared for.

Through daily repetition,  these poses interacts with the natural organic intelligence of the body allowing for a re-integration and re-alignment of the body/mind/consciousness-system. When practised with awareness, this results in a deeper understanding and mastery of one’s self. This level of awareness, eventually permeates every aspect of the practitioners life.