ASHTANGA YOGA SHALA PROVENCE
ASHTANGA YOGA in the tradition of Sri K Pattabhi Jois
ASHTANGA literally means eight limbs. They are described by Patanjali as: Yama (abstiences), Niyama (observances), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (contemplation). These branches support each other. Asana practice must be established for proper practice of pranayama and is the key to the development of the yamas and niyamas. Once these four extrernally oriented limbs are firmly rooted, the last four internally oriented limbs will spontaneously evolve over time.
VINYASA means breath-synchronized movement. The breath is the heart of this discipline and links asana to asana in a precise order. By synchronizing movement with breathing and practicing Mula and Uddiyana Bandhas (locks), an intense internal heat is produced. This heat purifies muscles and organs, expelling unwanted toxins as well as releasing beneficial hormones and minerals, which can nourish the body when the sweat is massaged back into the skin. The breath regulates the vinyasa and ensures efficient circulation of blood. The result is a light, strong body.
There are three groups of sequences in the Ashtanga system. The Primary Series (Yoga Chikitsa) detoxifies and aligns the body. The Intermediate Series (Nadi Shodhana) purifies the nervous system by opening and clearing the energy channels. The advanced Series A, B, C, and D (Sthira Bhaga) integrate the strength and grace of the practice, requiring higher levels of flexibility and humility. Each level is to be fully developed before proceeding to the next, and the sequential order of asanas is to be meticulously followed. Each posture is a preparation for the next, developing the strength and balance required to move further.
When learning traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a student should always learn directly from a properly trained teacher. A properly trained teacher is someone who comes from Parampara. It is important for the student to practice with one teacher as consistently as possible.
PARAMPARA is kowledge that is passed in succession from teacher to student. It is a Sanskrit word that denotes the principle of transmitting knowledge in its most valuable form; knowledge based on direct and practical experience. It is the basis of any lineage: the teacher and student form the links in the chain of instruction that has been passsed down for thousands of years. In order for yoga instrucion to be effective, true and complete, it should come from within Parampara. Knowledge can be transferrred only after the student has spent many years with an experienced Guru or teacher to whom he has completely surrendered in body, mind, speech and inner being. Only then is he fit to receive knowledge. This transfer from teacher to student is Parampara. As an authorized level 2 Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teacher, I have spent years learning directly from my teachers, Sharath Jois and Pattabhi Jois. Sharath spent years studying with his teacher, Pattabhi Jois. Pattabhi Jois spent years studying directly with his teacherKrsnamacarya. This is the Parampara of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
Claire Phoebe Saunders KPJAYI Authorized Level 2 Ashtanga Yoga Teacher
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