Everything you need to know about Ashtanga Yoga



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Ashtanga Yoga – North Sydney. Our calm and relaxing environment. From beginners Ashtanga Yoga to the most advanced practitioners, develop strength and flexibility at North Sydney Yoga

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is more than just a way to work out. It’s an exercise in mindfulness, flexibility and ultimately meditation, allowing you to nurture your body and mind in an ancient practice that spans millennia.

At North Sydney Yoga we’re committed to bringing you the best Ashtanga Yoga in Sydney. Our practicing environments are peaceful and calm, inviting positive thinking and relaxation. It doesn’t matter whether you’re interested in beginners’ yoga or looking for more advanced Ashtanga Yoga in North Sydney – you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

What is Ashtanga yoga?

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the physical asana (yoga posture) component of Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient practice that has been passed down by gurus and teachers for thousands of years. The most well known summary of Ashtanga Yoga is in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, written over two thousand years ago. The literal translation of Ashtanga Yoga is “eight limbed yoga”, where eight spiritual practices make up the path to internal purification. These paths consist of:

Yama – Moral or ethical codes and disciplines
Niyama – Self observation
Asana – Posture
Pranayama – Breathing control
Pratyahara – Control/withdrawal of the senses
Dharana – Concentration
Dhyana – Meditation
Samadhi – Fully integrated supreme consciousness

Yama and niyama concern people around us and how we relate to ourselves inwardly. While these are not specifically practiced on our yoga mat, yoga’s asana and pranayama techniques can influence our yama and niyamas by making us more aware of ourselves and our perspective on the world. Pratyahara involves withdrawing the senses from attachment to the external world, directing our focus internally. From these external branches comes the three internal limbs, which bring the mind under control.

Vinyasa describes a breathing and movement system essential to Ashtanga Yoga. This helps the internal cleansing process and combines with the asanas (positions) to provide a holistic yoga experience. When you practice vinyasa yoga in Sydney at North Sydney Yoga, you’ll learn about linking our breath to movement to not only increase your flexibility and strength, but to also benefit from improved health and mental and emotional wellbeing.

How does Ashtanga Yoga compare to the other forms of Yoga?

Ashtanga encourages sweating, as it’s believed this is how the body rids itself of toxins and helps heal itself. Ashtanga can be fast-paced and is grouped into six series, increasing in difficulty as they progress. You’re encouraged to focus on your breathing as you move seamlessly from pose to pose, and while it is physically demanding, it still provides a complete mental and spiritual workout. Ashtanga also performs the same poses in the same order, meaning Ashtanga classes should follow the same sequence all over the world. It’s more traditional than many other forms of yoga, with some modern iterations stemming from Ashtanga. Meditative focus is encouraged in Ashtanga, and upper body strength has more of a focus than some other varieties.

The history of Ashtanga Yoga

Our Ashtanga yoga has an interesting history. The oldest remaining specific text was written by Patanjali, an ancient sage who summarised Ashtanga Yoga in the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali’s teachings embraced the eight limbs of yoga, saying this is the way to true enlightenment.

The modern history of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga comes to us through the famous Yoga Teacher Krishnamacharya, who learned the practice from Ramamohana Brahmachari, a yoga teacher living in the Himalayan Mountains near Lake Manasarovar, Tibet. Aside from the modern history of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Krishnamacharya was also able to track down an old copy of a document known as the Yoga Korunta in the old National Archives of India in Calcutta, which detailed philosophies, asanas, bandhas and many other elements of Ashtanga yoga. This was passed down to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, who spent many years studying and teaching under Krishnamacharya.

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is widely regarded as having popularised modern Ashtanga Yoga, establishing the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute and devoting his life to the practice before passing away in 2009. He taught Yoga throughout India and passed his methods on to devotees, including a Belgian man who helped to introduce Ashtanga Yoga to a Western audience. The master embarked on many ‘world tours’ to spread the word of Ashtanga Yoga, while students would embark on pilgrimages to Mysore, where Pattabhi Jois was based. From there, Ashtanga yoga spread throughout the world.

Ashtanga yoga for beginners

If you’re looking for beginners’ Ashtanga Yoga in Sydney, North Sydney Yoga is an excellent place to learn this art. Our classes are led by accomplished and experienced teachers with at least three years of formal training under their belts, ensuring those new to Yoga get the best start possible on their journeys.

We have classes devoted to beginners’ yoga in Sydney, where anyone new to the Yoga of Ashtanga, can come along and practice this art. Our Yoga Essentials course is ideal for anyone wanting to practice beginners’ yoga in North Sydney, as it introduces breath, Drishti, Bandhas, Vinyasa and poses. You can step things up with the Yoga Essentials Intensive, which focuses on the unique Mysore style of Yoga in twice-weekly classes. We also offer Beginners Drop-In sessions, where those new to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and people with injuries or medical conditions can enjoy gentle classes at an easy pace. Teenagers and kids can also participate in specific classes, while we also have sessions for those who wish to practice individually with personal guidance from a teacher. Our General and General Focus classes are the perfect next step up from Yoga Essentials, ensuring there is an Ashtanga Yoga class to suit every level of experience.