Photo courtesy of Filippa Tredal. The roots of this living method of yoga are said to lie in the Yoga Kurunta , an ancient text written by Vamana Rishi, said to be thousands of years old. Pattabhi Jois, was an important part of the Ashtanga yoga tradition. This culminated with Shri K. Pattabhi Jois and continues to live on through his children, Manju and Saraswathi, his grandson Sharath, and all the teachers and students following the tradition to this day all around the world. When these three parts are synchronised and evolve through the movement, a flow is created between body and breath. The senses are calmed and we are given the opportunity to go beyond our thoughts and emotions. We develop both an inner and an outer strength and create a fertile ground for mental and spiritual growth. This leads us to a place of peace and stillness within; harmony with the inner and outer world will be established. Ashtanga yoga consists of six different sequences that are always carried out in the same order.
History of Ashtanga
Opening and Closing chant
Ashtanga Yoga traditionally has both an opening chant and a closing chant. Because of Yoga's ancient roots, chants or mantras are offered in Sanskrit the ancient language of India , however their meaning is said to be universal as Sanskrit is the language of the heart. Chanting acts to shift the consciousness of the individual practicing the chant to a higher level of vibration. This in turn brings us closer to our Source or Higher Self — the aspect of ourselves that remains eternal — and leaves the practitioner filled with peace and feeling calm and centred. Studies have shown that when a person chants it can stabilise their heart rate, lower blood pressure, produce beneficial endorphins in the body and boost metabolic processes, so it perfectly compliments the physical practice of asana. The Opening Prayer is a blessing of gratitude offered to the lineage of teachers and their students who have enabled this ancient practice to survive through thousands of years so that we can experience its benefits today. The recitation of this mantra cleanses the energy of the space we have chosen to practice yoga, as well as preparing the mind, body and emotions for the forthcoming Ashtanga sequence.
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