Ashtanga yoga is named after the term given in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras for the eight-fold path of yoga, or ashtanga, meaning 'eight-limbed' in Sanskrit. It was Sri K. Pattabhi’s belief that the asana 'limb' of yoga must be practiced before the others could be mastered. The practice was developed in Mysore, India where Sri K. Pattabhi Jois taught and set up the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. This dynamic, physically demanding practice synchronizes breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body. Ashtanga yoga, with its many vinyasas, is great for building core strength and toning the body. Prepare to sweat as you briskly move through a set sequence.
There are several key principles that underlie the practice of Ashtanga yoga:
Breath: It is recommended that postures are held for five to eight breaths or more, if possible.
Drishti: For every posture in the series, there is a set of drishtis, or gaze points.
Vinyasa: This is the breathing system that connects every movement in the series with the breath.
Bandhas: The practice should be carried out with the bandhas, or 'body locks,' engaged in order to ensure that the breath is also correct.
Daily practice: A six-days-per-week practice is encouraged, with Saturday as the rest day. The days of the full and new moon should also be taken as rest days, and women may also refrain from practicing during menstruation.
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