Ashtanga Yoga At Punyah Yoga

Pratap Rawat

Ashtanga Yoga At Punyah Yoga

There are many yoga studios and shalas in Rishikesh that offer Ashtanga courses. However, not all strictly teach according to tradition and lineage.

At Punyah Yoga, we are one of the few in Rishikesh that teach Ashtanga Yoga stringently as taught by Pattabhi Jois. We teach as it was taught with no modifications. We do not skip postures, nor do we change asanas.

Students of our Ashtanga classes are expected to attempt every asana - even the most difficult postures. There is also Sanskrit counting and focus is on the breath and on gazing points.

The founder of Punyah Yoga, Hemant Singh, wants to remind students that yoga is a breathing exercise with awareness. Ashtanga is no different.

“Yoga is an internal practice. The rest is just a circus.” Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

What Is Ashtanga?

Ever wondered what Ashtanga Yoga is? Let us fill you in!

Ashtanga Yoga was founded in the 20th century by Pattabhi Jois in India. With his guru, Krishnacharya, Pattabhi Jois developed four series of asanas: the Primary, the Intermediate, Advanced Series A and Advanced Series B. The primary series is called Yoga Chikitsa, which translates as yoga therapy. The intermediate series, Nadi Shodhana, means the nerve purifier. Lastly, the advanced series A and B, Sthina Bhaga, means centering of strength.

Each series is comprised of a set sequence of asanas which students memorize.

Ashtanga Yoga is known to be very athletic and energetic as asanas are linked with breathing. It’s a highly specific yoga practice in which every count, every inhale, every exhale is accounted for.

What Are Ashtanga Classes Like?

There are two different ways Ashtanga Yoga is taught: led and Mysore style.

In led classes, the teacher stands at the front of the class and announces the sequence of asanas while counting to pace the students. The teacher also occasionally offers hands-on adjustments.

In Mysore style classes, the teacher simply says, “Begin.” Sometimes, the students all begin with a mantra and then the teacher says, “Begin.” After that utterance, each student individually starts the sequence at the pace of their own breath. Printed out charts of the sequence will sometimes be provided for reference.

What’s In A Name?

The name “Mysore Style” was taken from the town where Pattabhi Jois lived and taught Ashtanga in India. His grandson, Sharath Jois, still lives and teaches Ashtanga in Mysore. He is keeping the purity of traditional Ashtanga Yoga alive!

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