A brief explanation Vinyasa Yoga
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is an ancient system of yoga transmitted to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009). This method of yoga involves synchronising the breath with a progressive series of postures — a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind.
Pattabhi Jois emphasised the following concepts as the main components of Ashtanga Yoga:
Vinyasa means breathing and movement system. For each movement, there is one breath. In this way all asanas are assigned a certain number of vinyasas.
The purpose of vinyasa is for internal cleansing. The combination of the asanas with movement and breath warms up the blood, allowing it to circulate freely around all the joints, and through all the internal organs removing impurities and disease.
Sweat is an important by-product of vinyasa, because it is only through sweat that disease leaves the body and purification occurs.
The Ashtanga primary series, Yoga Chikitsa, focuses on the purification of the body. The second series, Nadi Shodana, focuses on purifying the nervous system, and then the sense organs (third series – Sthira Bhaga).
The first steps are very difficult and require many years of practice. Through determination and diligent practice, these can be controlled. After this is accomplished, mind control comes automatically. Vinyasa creates the foundation for this to happen.
Tristhana means the three places of attention or action: posture, breathing system and looking place. These three are very important for yoga practice, and cover three levels of purification: body, nervous system and mind. They are always performed in conjunction with each other.
- Asanas (postures) purify, strengthen and give flexibility to the body.
- Dristhi is the place where you look while in the asana. There are nine dristhis: the nose, between the eyebrows, navel, thumb, hands, feet, up, right side and left side. Dristhi purifies and stabilises the functioning of the mind.
- Breathing is rechaka and puraka, that means inhale and exhale. Both the inhale and exhale should be steady and even, the length of the inhale should be the same length as the exhale. Breathing in this manner purifies the nervous system.
An important component of the breathing system is Mula and Uddiyana bandha. These are the anal and lower abdominal locks which seal in energy, give lightness, strength and health to the body, and help to build a strong internal fire.