Ashtanga vinyasa yoga taught by shri k pattabhi jois learn through his teacher shri T. Krishnamacharya in order to build health, balance, and control over sense organs. Ashtanga vinyasa is a discipline asana practice. vinyasa means movements – one breath one movement. This type focuses on asanas practice with breath and gazing (Drishti) called Tristhana . There are varies method to reach to stillness and asana practice is basic, important and one of the basic and easiest way to start with.
Ashtanga vinyasa yoga flow have 6 sequences. 6 sequences have particular asanas fixed in order and it is challenging. Ashtanga vinyasa is difficult asana practices than any other styles. The sequence practice encourages the blood to circulate properly in the body. And deep Ujjayi breath supplies a rich source of pure air. Ujjayi breath have heating effect on body which burns the impurities in the body. Gazing/Drishti in different places during asana practices increases concentration(dhyana). This stable have a profound effect on steadiness of body and mind.
Breath in ashtanga vinyasa yoga
Breath is an essential component in yoga practice. It is a fuel to the body which feeds the internal fire, gives it life and keeps the flame going. In ashtanga vinyasa practice, Ujjayi breath is used to enrich the prana. By breathing through the nose, with the mouth closed and breath is felt from the throat producing hissing/ocean sound. The sound of the breath keeps the mind engaged means the breath is keeping the mind focused. The Breath is the link between mind and body.
Tristhana in Ashtanga vinyasa yoga
In the practice of asana there are 3 places for attention it means you have be aware of asana, breathing and gazing/Drishti. Tri means 3 and Sthana means place. These 3 foundational practices form basic purification and stability which is required for further practices of yoga . In Simple language these Tristhana is the foundation. As we all know asana practices increase strength, flexibility, stamina and circulation throughout the body and make your body lighter and stronger. Breathing should always done with nose freely. For beginners, it will be lil tough to manage you breath with movements but do not worry with practice it will be easier.
There are 9 places used in varies asanas in order to control the wandering tendency of mind. These are :-
- Nasagra – Nose.
- Bhumadhya – between Eyebrows.
- Nabhi – Navel.
- Angustha – Thumb.
- Hastagra – Hand.
- Padagra – Feet.
- Urdhva – Upward
- Dakshina Parsva – Right side.
- Vamana parva – Left side.
The gazing is the focusing technique. By directing the gaze at specific point brings more concentration and awareness into the movement. Remember try to gaze soft. Eye play is one of the crucial practical while practicing asanas.
Bandha means ‘lock or bind’. Refer to holding body’s strength and energy together. There are 3 main bandha in human body that is :
- Mula bandha.
- Mula means root. It is the yogic practice of drawing the root chakra up and in. This chakra is located at the base of the spine which is the area between your genitals.
- Physically Mula bandha resembles a kegel exercise. Kegels involve contracting the muscles at the centre of perineum and lifting the pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, bowels and womb. Practicing Mula bandha can improve urinary incontinence.
- Uddiyana bandha.
- It is one of the most powerful bandha. It is the upward flying lock or abdominal lift, in which you suck your navel in and up, at the end of an exhalation.
- Jalandhara bandha.
- Also known as throat lock.
- It seals/lock the energy that is generated in the upper areas of the brain stem. It stimulates the higher energy center ( vishuddhi chakra ). Also improves the ability to retain the breath for longer period of time and also increase the ability to concentrate.
- The practice of Jalandhara bandha regulates the circulatory and respiratory system, stimulates the thyroid to balance metabolism, and it said to cure/prevent all diseases related to throat.
The mind is said to be like a monkey means that it jumps from one place to next and never staying still. Though the discipline of Asana practice, done consistently over time, we are able to bring the stability to the body and mind. Then we come to the state in which we can experience the true meaning of Yoga. To understand the profound effect of the Asana practice., It must be experienced directly through the regular practice over a long time. Then we become like the diver who can see the rich and vast beauty of the ocean beneath the surface, while the sailor who remains in the boat, sees only that which appears on the surface.
Note to remember
The true challenge is not Can you do a handstand ? but can you apply yoga to your life?. It truly begins when you leave the classroom. Every posture reflect something about our internal state. Some days you may have trouble with the balancing posture and notice you are having trouble juggling all the different things in your life , another day you may discover you are not as flexible as the day before. Perhaps you have become a bit less fluid and you are thinking or actions resistant to stretching yourself a bit further. Flexibility, strength, grounded, balance, discipline, clarity, lightness, wholeness, peace These all are directly applicable to our daily lives. Take the lessons of yoga and apply them to your life.