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What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga ?
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya is the father of modern yoga. He taught a system of practices including Pranayama (breath control), Bandhas (core muscular engagement and energetic locks), Drishti (visual focal points), āsanas (postures) and vinyāsa (breath with movement). Krishnamacharya is considered as the architect of vinyāsa.
Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois was a student of Krishnamacharya in Mysore, India. Pattabhi Jois learnt the vinyāsa system from him and later developed Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a traditional form of yoga based on vinyāsa system. In Hindi, Ashtanga means 'eight limbs'. These referred to the 8 branches mentioned in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:
Yama - moral disciplines
Niyama - observances
Asana - posture
Pranayama - breathing technique
Pratyahara - sense withdrawal
Dharana - focused concentration
Dhyana - meditative absorption
Samadhi - bliss or enlightenment
Pattabhi Jois believed that asana must be practiced and mastered before other limbs as asanas remove physical blockages, allow energy to flow freely and help sitting comfortably to practice pranayama and meditation.
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic form of yoga which synchronizes breath and movement through a set sequence of postures. During the practice, the body is producing intense internal heat and a purifying sweat that is a detoxification process. With regular Ashtanga practice, the body develops strength, flexibility, and stamina and the mind develop the ability to concentrate.