What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga which is popularly known as Ashtanga Yoga is a style of yoga derived from one of the classical yogic texts called “Yoga Kuranta” by Yogi Vamana. The style was rejuvenated by Sri T. Krishnamacharya, the master of B K S Iyengar as well as Sri K Pattabhi Jois in Mysore. Following the master’s path, Pattabhi Jois has taken this beautiful style to the hearts of yogis around the world. Later, his grandson, ‘Sharath Rangaswamy is following the tradition of Ashtanga Vinyasa.

Ashtanga Yoga is a practice of sequenced postures with its flow and grace. The postures are derived from “Yoga Kuranta” which was written by Yogi Vamana and re-invented by Ram Mohan Brahmachari in the beginning of 20th century. It was transmitted through his teachings to Sri T Krishnamacharya in the Himalayas. After his studies with the master, Krishnamacharya returned back to his hometown “Mysore” to continue the teachings of Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore. Ashtanga Yoga is classified into six different series of practices which makes the practitioner embrace the sublime layers of the mind with the graceful flow of the practice.

Read: Why do we teach Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training?

Yoga Chikitsa

Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series

The Primary/first Series of Ashtanga Yoga is known as “Yoga Chikitsa or Yoga Treatment” which primarily consists of forward folds along with twisting, hip opening and balancing. Over 70 postures are sequenced in a systematic way so that it can heal the system and refine the practice in a sequential flow blended with Ujjayi breathing.

Nadi Shodhana

Ashtanga Vinyasa Intermediate Series

The Intermediate Series of Ashtanga Yoga or Second series is known as “Nadishodhana” which focuses on the back-bending along with some hip opening, balancing and twisting too. Nadishodhana means purification of Nadis which is the result of the practice of Intermediate series of Ashtanga Practice.

Sthira Bhanga

Ashtanga Vinyasa Advanced Series A, B, C & D

The Advance Series has four sequences such as Advance A, B, C & D and altogether they are termed as “Sthira Bhanga” The tradition allows the practitioners to practice every series in the order as every previous series is a preparation for the next series.

Ashtanga Yoga Training Syllabus

This course focuses on the practice and teaching methodology of the Primary Series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. The Primary Series includes over 70 asanas (postures), linked sequentially by Vinyasa (breath-initiated movements between the asanas). The course begins with detailed instruction of the Primary Series practice in the first two weeks and then continues with a morning Mysore style in the third week of the yoga training. The fourth week gives an opportunity for the trainees to teach the Ashtanga Primary Series to the entire group of trainees through which the trainees get ready to teach Ashtanga Yoga and spread the wisdom of Yoga, Light and Love around the world.

  • Practice

    To practice a particular pose into its deep, one needs to know intelligent way of using the muscles, the appropriate way of breathing, meditative state of the mind and spiritually rooted soul. The practice of postures is a moving meditation. In the session “Teaching Methodology” we try to explore the concepts on which a particular posture is developed, how it can be practised into a deeper level, the benefits and contraindications. We also discuss the usage of props, the balance between the strength and flexibility and so on.

    The Sanskrit names of the postures are explained elaborately and how to teach an Ashtanga Yoga Led class effectively is evaluated in detail. The benefits of the specific sequencing and the principles of Vinyasa (the movements between postures), Ujjayi Pranayama (the sound induced breath), Drishti (the gaze) and Bandhas (the three locks or seals) are included as essential elements of the practice and teaching of Ashtanga Yoga during the course.

  • Theme-based Practices

    The evening session explores the different sets of theme based practices. These include standing, sitting, twisting, back-bending, hip opening and inversions will prepare the aspirants to explore their inner potentialities. These evening practices explore the theme based practices which in turn aids the participant to cater the need of his/her students back home as a teacher. These practices are meant to support, establish a firm foundation to the Ashtanga traditional practice.

Making of a Yoga Teacher

  • Alignments

    Beauty and perfection of every Asana depends upon two factors; one being the flexibility and the other is the alignment of different body parts involved in the posture. Flexibility can be achieved with regular practice and for understanding the posture one would need a good understanding of the posture and fine tune the subtle movements required to land in a perfect position.

  • Art of hands on adjustments

    Art of Adjustments is one of the significant fields where Yoga teacher has to work constantly to grow and to keep his/her class unique. Hence we try to explore it with every detail. The importance of encouraging students to continue with a regular practice and preparing them for Mysore style is emphasized.

  • Corrections

    As a teacher it is most important to know the integral aspects of Yoga postures, its limitations and benefits which in turn will help notice the common mistakes in a posture performed by a student and accordingly make the subtle changes required.

  • Group Class Sessions

    To develop the teaching skills we have sessions named ‘Group class’ which is one of the inevitable parts of the training. Starting from day 2, you will be leading a practical class for a group of fellow participants every day based on the Asanas learned by you. This builds the confidence, tones up the teaching skills and other required criteria to be a teacher. This class will always be supervised by one of the main teachers and there will be a feedback session after every group class session to improve the quality of the participant’s teaching. After building the confidence, skills and other required criteria, you will be taking a class for the whole group in the last week. This prepares you to get ready to teach once you go back.

  • Yoga Anatomy

    We will have an introduction to Yoga anatomy, in which we will discuss the anatomical aspects of Yoga practice. It is important to know how to engage/relax the muscles, deepening the stretches yet not injuring ourselves physically and so on. It is also important to understand the structure of our respiration to improve the quality of the breathing by pranayama techniques. A whole new world of Yoga Anatomy which improves the quality of our Yoga practice will be explored during the Yoga anatomy sessions.

  • Yoga Philosophical Sessions

    Sessions on Yoga Philosophy including The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the history and fundamentals of Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition, Vedic chanting with their meaning, Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, the sourcebook of Hatha Yoga style, Chakras and their psychological influence, the philosophy behind the practice of Bandhas and Mudras etc. are discussed in detail.

  • Meditation Techniques

    A variety of meditation techniques is taught to gain control over the mental fluctuations. These traditional meditation techniques will help the traditional Ashtanga practice and bring focus to the self-practice and precision in teaching.

Topics in a Nutshell

Meditation Practice

  • Practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series
  • The principles of Vinyasa, Bandhas, Drishti and Ujjayi Pranayama
  • Teaching Methodology of the Primary Series and Pranayama
  • Art of hands on Adjustments
  • Assisting and supervised teaching
  • TheYoga Anatomy of the postures of the Primary Series
  • Practice of Mysore style of Ashtanga Yoga
  • Practice of Yogic cleansing techniques
  • Introduction to Tantra, Pranic Energy, Chakras and Nadis
  • The Mantras, their chanting and their impact on human system
  • Different meditation techniques
  • The Chanting and Philosophy of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
  • Techniques of Yoga such as Sequence, Voice Modulation, Positioning, implementation of adjustments, breath counting, beginning and ending of the class etc
  • Yogic life which can be implemented in the daily life