A modern offshoot of traditional Hatha yoga, Ashtanga vinyasa takes a particularly rigorous form, in which the dynamic play between polar energies - be they solar and lunar, masculine and feminine, expansive and contractive - are expressed and harmonized. Harnessing the expansive generosity of the breath, in Ashtanga we trace a line between effort and ease, strength and passivity, invigoration and exhaustion.
Ashtanga is informed by three fundamental principles - the tristhana - by virtue of which the practice transcends mere exercise, attaining the state of a moving meditation. The first principle, vinyasa, directs that each movement take place with focused intention, in union with an inhalation or exhalation, in a flow of ujjayi pranayama (breathing with sound) which forms the backbone of the practice. The second principle, bandha, guides us to engage internal physio-energetic “locks” - primarily mula bandha (the root lock) - in order to elicit the power of kundalini, the Goddess, who resides at the base of the spine. Finally, the principle of drishti - or “gazing point” - provides the eyes and the mind with a point of focus in each posture, aiding in the adoption of a meditative state and facilitating balance and poise.
Ashtanga vinyasa yoga descends from the tradition of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya - the “Father of modern yoga” - through his student, Pattabhi Jois, who formalized the practice into several series of increasingly challenging postures. Our classes at YoS will draw upon the first two of these series: yoga chikitsa (“yoga therapy”), which is concerned with the purification and strengthening of the physical body; and nadi shodana (“nerve cleansing”), which acts upon the nervous system and begins to bridge the gap between gross and subtle, preparing the way for the later branches of traditional ‘eight-limbed’ (ashtanga) yoga.
Students will practice traditional Hatha Yoga asanas "postures”, combined with deep breathing to strengthen and stretch the body while relaxing/centering the mind for meditation. This is a slower paced practice seen as a moving meditation. Available to all levels. This class helps build strength, increase flexibility, concentration, and promote balance within body/heart/mind.