Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, as taught by the late Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois (‘Guruji’) in Mysore India, is a system of Hatha yoga that synchronises breath and movement in a flowing sequence of asanas (postures). When practised regularly, it develops strength, flexibility, stamina and eventually a still and focussed mind. It is ultimately a moving meditation.
Poses (asana) flow one after another in a sequence with each held for 5 breaths before transitioning through a specific series of movements (Vinyasa) to the next pose. This is why it is important to practice them in the correct order and not to ‘rush’ before you are ready for the next one in the sequence – asanas are traditionally given by your teacher ‘one by one’. By practising the asanas in sequence we are opening and reprogramming patterns and energy channels in the body, with each working to prepare body and mind for the poses to come.
There are 6 sequences in total in the Ashtanga system which can take many years of practice to complete and we start with the first one, the Primary Series, known as Yoga Chikitsa.