The History of Ashanga Vinyasa Yoga

 

This Saturday 27/01/2018 at 2:00pm we have a one off opportunity to chart the history of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. New light will be thrown on this fascinating subject, which we now know has its roots way back in the mists of yoga time. Dont miss out on this once only opportunity!

 

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

“The beauty of the Ashtanga vinyasa system is how the postures are arranged, and how with sustained focus, linking the breath and movement will open up the body and mind. They are the perfect example of how Hatha yoga works when taught and practised with integrity and sincerity”   Martin Thompson.

The Yoga Korunta is a purported ancient text on Yoga, transmitted by oral tradition to Tirumalai Krishnamacharya by his teacher Rama Mohan Brahmachari in the early 20th century, and further to Sri K Pattabbi Jois beginning in 1927, who then used it as the basis of his system Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga introduced in 1948.

The existence or historicity of this oral transmission cannot be verified, and the text itself has not been preserved. It is said to have been made up of stanzas using rhymed, metered sutras, in the manner common to texts transmitted orally in the guru-shishya tradition.

yogaclass

The text is said to have described several lists of many different asana groupings as well as original teachings on vinyasa, drishti, bandhas, mudras and general teachings. The name Yoga Korunta is a Tamilized pronunciation of the Sanskrit words Yoga Grantha meaning “Book about Yoga”.

Krishnamacharya:

Travelled to Tibet where he was taught Yoga. The Astanga Vinyasa sun salutations are painted on the walls of the Potala Palace in Tibet. The British Army used very similar exercises and gymnastics to keep young soldiers in vibrant health.

The Ashtanga Vinyasa Systems are all individual Vinyasa Kramas and the different series of Ashtanga Vinyasa System all add to one complete Kinyasa Krama.

You will often hear vinyasa krama described as breath and movement, this is a very narrow description.

Vinyasa krama: is the art of sequential variations within prescribed parameters. The Sanskrit syllables for vinyasa krama are defined in this way:

vi – variation

nyasa – within prescribed parameters

krama – sequence

There are four parameters in vinyasa krama: sthira (steadiness), suhka (comfort), prayatna (effort of life, which is breathing), and saithilya (smooth and long breathing). They are set out in these two yoga sutras: II-46 “steadiness and comfort characterize the yogic posture (asana)”; and, II-47 “by making the breath smooth (and long), and focusing the mind on the breath, the perfection of the posture is obtained.” (Ramaswami pointed out that Krishnamacharya interpreted sutra II-47 as focusing the mind on the breath and not on the asana or posture, as some teachers might suggest.)

Krama is the special and appropriate individual steps taken as the process of exploring and mastering that is becoming established in each asana. These steps though related for each person are also completely unique for each individual and their development.

So you can see how sophisticated the art of vinyasa krama is, and how shallow the term breath and movement is. That said, the beauty of the Ashtanga vinyasa system is how the postures are arranged and how, with sustained focus linking the breath and movement will open up the body and mind. They are the perfect example of how Hatha yoga works when taught and practised with integrity and sincerity.

Martin Thompson

For more info call:

  • 01702 301 915
  • 07706 852 943
  • email: yoga@yogadharma.co.uk