• General

    Ashtanga Yoga comes from an alive genealogy, of about five thousand years ago, comprising mainly wise teachers and gurus, reaching milliions of practitioners, through Sri K Pattabhi Jois' life, who passed away on May 18, 2009. Today Ashtanga Yoga is passed down by his son, Manju Pattabhi Jois, his daughter Saraswati, his grandson Sharrath Rangaswarmy and also by every teacher and practitioner worldwide. 

  • Ujjayi Pranayama

    The prefix “ud” means upwards, uplifting or expansion. It also has the meaning of supremacy and power. “Jaya” means conquest or success and from another perspective self retainment. In ujjayi pranayama the lungs are fully expanding, with the chest put forward like a warrior. The breath is the key for the kingdom of serenity and power, and along with it we can regulate our nervous system. The breath is the gate between the body and mind, the portal between meditation and practice, and often the first step on the way to a more spiritual and conscious, thus happy life. Guruji used to say “Ashtanga is a breathing practice, the rest are simple stretching” 

  • Asana

    There are three groups of asana sequencies and six series in total. The first series, yoga Chikitsa, cleanses and regulates thw physical body. The intermediate series, Nadi Shodhana, cleanses the nervous system, opening more sublte energy sources and the mind. The Advanced series A, B, C and D Sthira Bhaga, literally means strength and grace, which provides further mental power, demanding extreme levels of dedication, determination, and modesty of the practitioner. This practice works accumulatively and it is imperative that the sequence of asanas is followed, due to the building effect of the system. The consecutive procedure of learning Ashtanga Yoga allows the practitioner to develop the muscle strength and elasticity, and the mental concentration and stamina required for progressing in a safe and balanced way.  

  • Bandhas

    The bandhas are “locks” in our physical body, which activate with a light contraction of the muscles of the corresponding area, and are directly connected with our energy flow. By name the Moolabandha, Uddiyanabandha and Jalandarabandha are found in the pelvis area, in the belly button area (two fingers below) and in the thyroid area correspondingly. Their activation maintains the right alignment of the body, providing at the same time a deep point of concentration for the mind.

  • Dristi

    Using our vision organs we succeed in focusing our brain on one point creating a more internal and meditative practice. The dristhi (gaze focus) helps our mind and our senses to be directed to the inside of our physical body.

  • Vinyasa

    The yoga practice consists of a total of techniques like, “exercises” (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), focusing exercises, meditation, all of which need several hours to be practiced. Vinyasa is a system that organises the practice in kinetic sequencies, fully synchronized with the breathing. With the addition of bandhas along with a specific gaze point, the benefits are reinforced, comprising a complete set of exercising the body and mind. The creator of this technique was Rishi Vamana. One of the remarkable characteristics of vinyasa, is the fact that the asanas do not last long. One of the many traps in yoga is the fact that the practitioner identifies himself with the position. So one may say “now I’m in warrior one, perfect that’s yoga” and he is immediately distracted from breathing, focusing on the shape of the position. The main idea of vinyasa is to draw the attention of the mind, from the position to breathing, enabling the practitioner to realise that the positions (asanas) as well as all shapes and forms, are temporary. All shapes, objects, structures come and go. Yoga seeks the shapeless, the intangible (conscience). Vinyasa yoga is a meditation on the impermanence and the only thing settled in the practice, is breathing, whereby the asanas form a mala (rosary). The mala is mainly used for counting the mantras, during meditation. In vinyasa every asana is a different mantra, and the movements that we perform to enter and exit the asana are beads that form the mala (rosary), so the practice becomes a moving meditation. The creation of the heat burns toxins not only the physical ones, but also the poison of ignorance and self dillussion. When each asana is performed separately, it may lead to extensive elasticity, which distabilises the body. The correct alignment of the bones and especially of the spine is succeeded by maintaing a specific muscle tone. The Ashtanga Vinyasa method with the continuous opposing movements (jump forward, asana, jump backwards) enables us to gain strength so as to maintain the elasticity gained from the asanas. At this point it is imperative to point out that the kind of elasticity which cannot be supported by strength, should be avoided. 

  • Vinyasa Count

    We often come across the word vinyasa, with a meaning that the student just jumps through and back using his hands. However, the vinyasa is all about every counting movement combined with the breathing and the gaze point. Vinyasa counting is a structure like a classic piece of music score. Every movement needed for entering or exiting a potition (asana) is traditionally counted. Since the positions differ not only in the shape but also in the way they are performed, the number of the position sequence needed, changes in every different position. So for instance, in Padangushthasana there are only three vinyasas (counted positions) whereas in Supta Padangusthasana twenty six. In all vinyasas there is continuous flow, holding the one that forms the asana for the five breaths, namely the state of the asana. For example Trikonasana has five vinyasas, and the state of the asana, in which we hold five breaths, is in number two (2) and four (4). Although in several books and Ashtanga yoga classes the counting is in English, or in the language of each country the class is performed in, if we want to follow tradition, the counting is in Sanskrit.