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The practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga series

Updated: Jan 28

On this page, texts by members of the Association are posted, regarding the practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and yoga in general. The opinions expressed in the texts are personal, fall under the sole responsibility of their author and do not constitute an official position of the Association.

The series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a methodical approach to which each practitioner is introduced individually, respectfully and adapted to their physical and mental condition.

The series of asanas are divided into three categories, the first called Yoga Chikitsa (Yoga therapy), the second called Nadi Shodhana ("cleansing" of the energy channels) and the third called Sthira Bhaga (divine stability). Sthira Bhaga is a combination of advanced asanas and requires high mental concentration. Today, it is divided into four series, whereas in the past it was taught in two, Advanced A and B.

However, as a practitioner familiarizes himself and deepens in this practice, he/she also acquires a more advanced approach to the first series (Advanced Primary), discovering many details in even the simplest asanas, which shows the greatness of this particular practice and how much we can go deeper in it in our life.

The "Mysore" class of this method is an approach that introduces the student gradually to the specific sequence of asanas, starting with the most important sequence of movements, the sun salutation (Surya Namaskara A & B).

When one understands sun salutations, movement synchronized with breath, engagement of energy locks (bandhas) and focused gaze (dristhi) as means to calm the mind, one's practice takes on a form of meditation in motion with benefits both physically, mentally and spiritually.

Anyone who wishes to engage in this practice can identify with a gardener tending to his garden. The gardener needs to clean the soil, remove the wild grasses, water each plant as needed, no less so that it does not bloom, no more so that it does not burn. It also waters the garden at a constant rate every day, without waiting for the season when the garden blooms and bears fruit. Accordingly, the practitioner also needs to take care of the body every day with the same principles and qualities of nature, since it is made up of all 5 elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether.

November 2023, Nektarios Mitritsakis

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