Ashtanga translates to mean eight (ashta) limbs (anga) practice of yoga.
The eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga are:
Yama – Moral Codes
Niyama – Personal Disciplines and purity of self each day
Asana – Postures
Pranayama – Control of Prana through our Breath
Pratyahara – Withdrawal of our Senses and Thoughts
Dharana – Concentration
Dyhana – Meditation
Samadhi – An awakened state where we merge and become one with our objet of meditation and we are absorbed itno the universal spirit
There are six series of Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Sri Pattabhi Jois passed to him from Krishnamacharya. The opening sequence begins with 10 Sun Salutations (A & B) and then several standing asanas. Next, the practitioner will do one of the six main series, referred to as the Primary series, Intermediate series (2nd Series) or Advanced A, B, C, or D series. Beginners to Ashtanga Yoga, practice the primary series, after learning the standing sequence. The Primary Series is the most important series as it forms the basis of the entire system. Each series ends with the closing sequence and savasana. Practitioners may advance to more difficult series over a period of years or decades, but the goal of this style is not to learn the more difficult asanas but rather to learn to maintain internal focus throughout the practice by using ujjayi breath, dristhi (focus point) and bandhas (energy locks). See the link below for a picture version of the full Primary Series.
Once you are comfortable with the primary series it is suggested that you start taking Mysore classes so that you can have more personal instruction and adjustments by the teacher. Mysore class is named after the city in India where Sri Pattabhi Jois opened his yoga institute. We have several Mysore classes taught during the week. Check out our full schedule for days and times.
When looking into Ashtanga practice it is common to see classes labeled with Levels. These levels will give you guidance on which class is best for you. Each of these levels is defined on our Classes page, please take a look and decide which level of Ashtanga class best fits your practice.