Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is designed to reveal the full depth of yoga. It is the systematic step-by-step unfolding of awareness without neglecting weak areas or catering to strong ones. This approach, called vinyasa, means sequential. It implies intelligent, balanced evolution, and it produces remarkable strength, flexibility, and clearness of mind. Out of the principle of vinyasa different progressive series of postures were created using the movements of the Sun Salutation as links.
The formal method of Ashtanga Vinyasa has six series of postures. These are used in training the body, breath, and the intelligence to merge together harmoniously without any distortion or unresolved aspects of the mind that might create a false sense of self.
When body, breath, and mind merge seamlessly, spontaneous samadhi occurs. The series cover a broad spectrum of postures, combinations of postures, and linking movements. They are like scales that a musician may master. They are challenging, and beginners will often practice only portions of them, and may need subseries to span the gap between their present situation and their potential one.
Yoga Ruins Your Life?
That sounds terrible! But it’s not. In fact, having yoga ruin your life is a huge relief; because when you practice yoga on a regular basis, the autopilot of life that—if you’re like most of us you may have fallen into—slowly transforms into a life that is naturally more awake, balanced, healthy, and happy. The little things that used to bother you don’t so much anymore. You feel less stressed and happier. Relationships become easier as emotions, thoughts, and feelings become clearer and less reactive. Best of all, who you really are shines through. So, yes, your autopilot life is “ruined,” but that’s not so terrible, after all.
By invoking the image of classical representations of Indian deities, we invite our subtle bodies to resonate with what we’re experiencing in our imaginations so that proper alignment spontaneously arises. Ganesha offers us insight into mulabandha—the necessity of tone and awareness in the pelvic floor that is then given room to become ignited in a soft, full abdomen. As the remover of obstacles, we also learn from him to keep an open mind, a sense of humor, and to listen deeply so as not to become fundamentalists stuck in our points of view.