Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient system of Yoga that has many unique qualities which can lead to a transformative experience. The system traces its lineage to Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta. This text was imparted to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900’s by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, and was later passed down to Pattabhi Jois during the duration of his studies with Krishnamacharya, beginning in 1927.

Ashtanga Yoga means “eight limbed yoga,” these eight limbs can be described as eight disciplines. These limbs are defined in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and comprise the foundation of Ashtanga Yoga Philosophy.

  1. Yama: Moral Principles
  2. Niyama: Self-discipline
  3. Asana: Physical Postures
  4. Pranayama: Breath Control
  5. Pratyahara: Sensory withdrawal
  6. Dharana: Concentration / Internally
  7. Dhyana: Meditation, uninterrupted flow of concentration
  8. Samadhi: Connection to the Divine

Of these eight limbs, the most familiar is asana – yoga postures. It is important for us to practice, because it is the most accessible of the eight limbs to begin with, and through it we can understand the other limbs.

“Through āsana we can access higher levels of yoga and, over time, bring both the body and mind to a state of stability, a state of peace. With consistent practice of āsanas, changes become apparent on many levels, physical and mental. A deep sense of contentment and inner peace arises, and it is then that we can begin to more clearly understand the other seven limbs of Ashtanga Yoga.”
– Jois Yoga