Tag Archives: ashtanga

Pattabhi Jois on the Method of Ashtanga Yoga

A short video of  Pattabhi Jois talking about the Method of Ashtanga Yoga can be found on youtube. You can also watch the video below. In these uncertain times of political and economic unrest both in and out of the yoga world, it helps to remind us why we practice yoga. Those of us who have practiced for some time must also help carry the simple message of yoga as an internal practice to those who have not experienced its magic. Some have made Ashtanga yoga about the physical postures only and have confused the road map for the destination. To a new comer, it can be very intimidating and to those whose body type will not allow an aggressive physical practice it can be prohibitive. An elitist attitude about being an “ashtangi” has helped push the growth of vinyasa and flow classes and lead to the proliferation of numerous modern “styles of yoga”. Let us remind ourself of the simple words of Pattabhi Jois…

There is only one yoga. It is universal and does not belong to any one. It is not physical or external exercise but rather a path for internal cleaning. The goal of yoga is the acquisition of self knowledge. There is only one method and it starts with the asana. to help you develop strength and stamina. As you continue to practice regularly, your energy will increase. The method requires practice and not just talking about the practice. Practitioners should put 95% of their effort towards practicing yoga (showing up on their mat and only 5% of their energy towards the theory of yoga. Sometimes people today want there to be 99.5% theory and .5% practice but that is not good. It takes discipline to prepare your body by developing stamina through a regular daily practice. As used here, body means the three types of body: external body, internal body, and spiritual body. In order to strengthen all three, the practice of yoga must include a breathing system in the vinyasa. The breathing system is very important for without it, the spiritual body and mind will not be effected. Breathing is a very important part of the method. Without breathing there is no vinyasa. The inhale and the exhale must match the movement and be smooth and even. The length of inhale should match the length of exhale. If one is ten seconds the other should also be ten seconds. It is in this way that you practice the method of yoga.