Ashtanga & Power Yoga
Power or Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic, aerobic type of Yoga.
It is the brainchild of one K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India.
Oft publicized as a set of exercises that can change your life if you can survive it, it is also portrayed as yoga with a boot camp flavor.
Actually, the term Ashtanga Yoga refers to the 8-fold path of Yoga laid down d by the sage Patanjali. K.
Pattabhi Jois’ version of Ashtanga Yoga lays stress on a dynamic approach to the Yoga poses (asana) and breathing exercises (pranayama). Pattabhi Jois’ system of Yoga is also called Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga or as Power Yoga.
At the heart of this practice are 6 increasingly difficult sets of linked postures. Each of them calls for anywhere between 90 minutes to 3 hours to complete. The arrangement of Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga entails going repeatedly through the whole gamut of poses. Some of them one may even find disconcerting or difficult. However, the sequence works like a combination lock, inasmuch as it done properly in the right order, the mind and the body automatically open up.
Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga or Power Yoga consists of the primary series, also called yoga chikitsa (yoga therapy). It is designed to realign and detoxify the body, especially the spine. It also creates the basis for substantial strength, so vital to balancing out the very flexible students who are often attracted to Hatha Yoga practice. The intermediate series, Nadi Shodhana (cleansing of the Nadis or subtle channels within the system), cleanses and fortifies the nervous system as well as the subtle energy channels that connect the 7 chakras.
The 4 advanced series (initially taught as two series, but subdivided to make them more accessible) are jointly called Sthira Bhaga (divine stability). These series take enhance the practitioner’s strength, flexibility, concentration, and energy flow developed in the first two series.
A typical Ashtanga Yoga class starts with a Sanskrit prayer, after which, the instructor will remind you to use the 3 techniques central to Ashtanga Yoga, viz, Ujjayi (Ocean breathing), Mula Bandha, and a variation of Uddiyana Bandha.