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Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga: a bit of history

Updated: Apr 25, 2020

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the mother of dynamic yoga and a powerful form of yoga guided by breath. It is a fixed series of yoga postures that are practiced in exactly the same way all over the world.

As the story goes, the ashtanga yoga system was reconstructed from a mysterious manuscript written on a bundle of palm leaves, the Yoga Korunta. This collection of verses on hatha yoga was discovered in the 1930's by yoga master and Sanskrit scholar Sri Tirumalai Krischnamacharya and his discipline K. Pattabhi Jois while researching Sanskrit texts at a Calcutta university library. The manuscript is dated to be between 500 and 1500 years old. Krishnamacharya and Jois translated and reconstructed the ashtanga yoga series and Pattabhi Jois, with the encouragement of Krishnamacharya, took the instructions as the basis of his practice and teaching.

Characteristic of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is the consistent combination of breathing, movement and fixed points of concentration. These shield the body from external stimuli during the practice, and the essential components of yoga, such as mindfulness, calmness and self-observation, can fully unfold. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga consists of six series in which the single positions build on each other. The 1st series is called "Yoga Chikitsa" and means as much as "Yoga Therapy". It can free the body from external and internal blockades, so that the activated life energy can flow freely and unhindered again - thus body, mind and soul are strengthened.

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