The Ashtanga yoga system comes from the lineage of Krishnamacharya and Pattahbi Jois.
It is a set sequence of physical postures (Asanas). The practice of this sequence is focused on breath (Ujjay), engaging the deep core (bandhas), focused gaze (drishti), and the connection between breath and movement (vinyasa).
In the last 100 years, with the introduction of yoga to the west, many new styles of yoga developed. Yet still today, the majority of the physical postures and the concept of the the vinyasa from the ashtanga system is the base of most modern dynamic styles of yoga.
The benefits of a set sequence
Using a set sequence allows the body to slowly learn the postures and open to them. The practice reveals the changing nature of the body, mind, and breath through the engagement with the constant – the ashtanga sequence.
The dialogue between the fixed sequence and our changing nature shines light on our thought patterns, habits and aspirations.
Though the Ashtanga sequence is dynamic and challenging, we have the freedom to choose whether we want to give 100%, or 30% effort in a practice. So even as the practice can be challenging, it can be practiced with softness or intensity, modified and adapted to fit the practitioner in each practice.
The practice is a tool for integration and transformation between the breath, the body, and the mind.