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Ashtanga 

Ashtanga means eight limbs in Sanskrit and refers to the eight limbs of Yoga set forth by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras: Yamas (external discipline, ethics), Niyamas (internal discipline), Asana (posture or seat), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sensory withdrawal), Dharana (focus, concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (integration).

The practice of what is today known as Ashtanga Yoga is derived from the teachings of Sri T. Krishnamacharya (1888-1989).   Krishnamacharya, a great student of the Yoga Sutras, was especially concerned with using yoga to help and heal people.  Together with his students (including his son T.K.V. Desikachar, author of the Heart of Yoga; B.K.S. Iyengar; Indra Devi; and K. Pattabhi Jois) Krishnamacharya moved forward the practice of hatha (active or forceful) yoga in the 20th century.  Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois found, in archives in India, ancient texts
describing series of postures, and Pattabhi Jois was entrusted with teaching these series as Ashtanga Yoga.  Pattabhi Jois now directs and teaches at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, south India.

There are six series of Ashtanga postures, although few practitioners ever go beyond the first two, which are in themselves quite demanding.  A typical Ashtanga practice consists of five parts:

The Practice

Standing Sequence

1) The Ashtanga invocation.
2) Surya Namaskara: Five sun salutations A and B, typically counted in Sanskrit.
3) Ashtanga Standing Series  (list below)

Padangusthasana – big toe posture

Padahastasana – hand to foot posture

(Utthita) Trikonasana – triangle (extended)

Parivritta Trikonasana – revolving triangle

Utthita Parsvakonasana – extended side angle posture

Parivritta Parsvakonasana – revolving side angle posture

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D – spread out feet intense stretch

Parsvottanasana – side intense stretch

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A, B, C, D – Extended hand to big toe posture

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana – Half bound lotus intense stretch

Vinyasa to Utkatasana – flow to fierce/awkward (also known as chair) posture

Vinyasa to Virabhadrasana A, then B (warrior A, then B)

4) The sequence of postures unique to the given series, such as primary/first series or second series.
5) The finishing sequence.

July 2024 - May 2025

Seated Sequence

  • _ Dandasana (staff posture)

  • _ Paschimottanasana A, B, C (Western intense stretch)

  •    ardha (half) vinyasa (AV)

  • _ Purvottanasana (Eastern intense stretch)

  •      ardha vinyasa

  • Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana: right, AV, left, AV (half bound lotus Western intense stretch)

  • _ Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana: right, AV, left, AV (three limbs face one foot Western intense stretch)

  • _ Janu Sirsasana A: right, AV, left, AV (head to knee posture)

  • _ Janu Sirsasana B: right, AV, left, AV

  • _ Janu Sirsasana C: right, AV, left, AV

  • _ Marichiyasana A: right, AV, left, AV (posture dedicated to the sage Marichi)

  • _ Marichiyasana B: right, AV, left, AV

  • _ Marichiyasana C: right, AV, left, AV

  • _ Marichiyasana D: right, AV, left, AV

  • _ Navasana: 5 times (boat pose)

  •     ardha vinyasa

  • _ Bhujapidasana (arm pressure posture)

  •          ardha vinyasa

  • _ Kurmasana (tortoise posture)

  • _ Supta Kurmasana (sleeping tortoise posture)

  •          come up into Tittibhasana (A) then ardha vinyasa

  • _ Garbha Pindasana: roll 9 times (womb embryo posture)

  • _ Kukkutasana (cock/rooster posture)

  •          ardha vinyasa

  • _ Baddha Konasana (bound angle posture)

  •          ardha vinyasa

  • _ Upavishta Konasana (seated angle posture)

  •          ardha vinyasa

  • _ Supta Konasana (sleeping angle posture)

  •          ardha vinyasa

  • _ Supta Padangusthasana A,B,C on right; A,B,C on left (sleeping big toe posture)

  •     Chakrasana (circle)

  • _ Ubhaya Padangusthasana (both big toes posture)

  • ardha vinyasa

  • _ Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana (upward facing Western intense stretch)

  •          ardha vinyasa

  • _ Setu Bandhasana (bridge)

* Spellings and translations following David Swenson’s Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual

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