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Ashtanga Yoga Shala is dedicated to the traditional practice of Ashtanga Yoga - as described over 2000 years ago by the great sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is a comprehensive eight-step evolutionary program designed to transform a human being physically and mentally by eliminating dis-ease, pain and stress and by increasing health, peace and happiness - leading ultimately to the highest realization of the Self. Since we live in such polluted and unnatural environment - for most people this means starting with healing the body.

Healing - Therapy - Evolution

Many people come to yoga after realizing that modern medicine does not have a cure for most of our common ailments: at best, modern medicine can often only offer a band-aid which aims to cover up symptoms without eliminating actual causes of dis-ease, but alarmingly, more often, medications prescribed by doctors (or bought over the counter) have many unwanted side affects - which in the end may cause more suffering than they eliminate.

Yoga suggests that most of our distress is of a psychological origin - because we feel stressed, we eat bad food which causes us pain - or we say something which has endless miserable consequences. Today it is recognized that most dis-ease has a psycho-somatic component - many of the common ailments people suffer have direct or indirect psychological causes eg symptoms increase with stress, the presence of certain people or environments. 

Yoga approaches the elimination of pain or dis-ease by addressing both the physical and the mental dimensions, recognizing these as two sides of the same coin, by accessing and modifying the subtle interface between them. This subtle interface between the mind and body is reflected in the way we breathe, and yoga utilizes different methods of breathing for therapy, purification and concentration.

The breathing method devised by Pattabhi Jois for asana practice has a purifying effect - it elevates the body’s temperature and facilitates deeper flexibility and detoxification. This method of breathing when combined with the sequencing of asanas, gradually realigns the skeletal posture, reduces muscular tensions, increases the vital energy, eliminates disease and increases feelings of peace and well being.

Asana practice is fundamentally therapeutic - it helps one eliminate everyday aches and pains, reduces stress and helps one to sleep better at night. It can eliminate or help one control many chronic conditions related to muscular tension and digestive distress - back ache, headaches, constipation, IBS - even diabetes, heart conditions etc can greatly benefit from yoga practice.

Asana practice brings more peace and helps one to concentrate. It also educates one about one’s body - healing oneself is a journey which allows one eventually to become one’s own doctor: no one can know one’s own body as intimately as the one who experiences it. 

Pattabhi Jois’s system of asanas combines static postures linked together with dynamic breath-synchronized movements known as vinyasa. He divided asana practice into three sections: for therapy (Chikitsa Bhaga), for purification (Shodhona Bhaga) and for stability or strength (Sthira Bhaga).

Although the postures are divided into these three sections, the processes of therapy, purification and strengthening happen simultaneously in each of the sequences. However, the first or Primary Series sequence emphasizes the process of therapy as a starting point, while the Intermediate series emphasizes purification and the advanced practice emphasizes strength and stability.

Each sequence is preceded by the practice of Sun Salutations - or Surya Namaskara - and concludes with cool down postures, breathing and relaxation.