Ashtanga comes from the south Indian city of Mysore, where it was first presented to the public by
Shri T. Krishnamacharya.
Shri K. Patthabi Jois introduced the practice to Western students, and his grandson, Shri R. Sharath Jois, is currently the lineage holder and main teacher.
The full ashtanga yoga sequence consists of:
The 6 series are different sequences of yoga asanas, where each asana prepares the student for next one. In this way, the body and mind become accustomed to a new way of moving.
Ashtanga yoga combines vinyasa (movement) with breath and drishti (focus). These three aspects help the student achieve dharana (concentration) within the asana practice.
The asanas detoxify the system and make the body strong.
Ashtanga is an Indian Guru - Student tradition.
The student is shown asanas by the teacher, and when one asana is mastered, the next one is presented. Students are introduced slowly to the series and at the same develop a self-practice. The teacher’s aim is for the student to be able to practice alone, wherever one can unroll a yoga mat. This is called Mysore-style practice.
On most days in an ashtanga yoga shala, you will see students doing their own individual practices, while the teacher walks around correcting and assisting the students. In this way, the practice can be adjusted to every individual’s needs and goals. Guided classes are also taught, where students follow the count of the teacher.