Finding stillness in movement
Ashtanga Vinyasa is a form of yoga based on the teachings of Sri K Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009) of Mysore, India. Jois (or Gurujji as he is affectionately known) was himself a student of the great teacher Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1989). In the early 1970’s a small number of western students began travelling to Mysore to study with Jois – among them, David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff. David and Nancy brought Gurujji to the USA for the first time in 1975 and thus began in earnest the spread of Gurujji’s approach to western yoga students.
The Ashtanga Yoga approach is based around a series of asana (posture) sequences which are practised in accordance with a very precise breath count. From the first day students are encouraged to learn the primary series sequence and make the practice their own. Even primary series can seem challenging at first but students are encouraged to progress in a manner and at a pace suited to their particular bodies and personalities. Postures can be modified and shorter sequences used to gradually encourage the development of patience, strength and flexibility. Eventually the practice becomes a moving meditation that combines, strength, mobility, grace and stillness – weaving together sequences of movement and postures on the thread of the breath.