Ashtanga yoga, often called as Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, is one of the most popular modern yoga styles created in the 20th century by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and quickly spread all over the World.
Ashtanga yoga is distinguished by its dynamic practice presented as a rigorous sequence of asanas (poses), connected by intense movement complexes called vinyasas, and followed with a certain way of breathing, energy locks (bandhas) and gaze concentration (drishti). The practice is mainly focused of the strengthening of the body, developing of flexibility and psychological stability.
Unlike with the other yoga styles Ashtanga yoga means a real challenge to your will-power and mind. This is not yoga that has to adapt itself to the practitioner, but it is up to the practitioner to reach the “demands” and “levels” of the yoga practice.
Since Ashtanga yoga is a strictly structured yoga class with the poses that follows one another in a rigid order, the asanas cannot be skipped or changed. There are five Ashtanga asana series or sequences that have to be mastered gradually, step by step. All the sequences are harmoniously formed up so that each previous asana prepares the body for the next one.
Each practitioner has to master every pose of the first series, learn each movement and hold on the poses without any stress and discomfort, staying calm and evenly breathing, before he moves up a level onto the second more challenging series.
Finally, in order to achieve good results of the practice remember that first of all it requires self-discipline, orderliness and regularity. It should become your everyday personal hygiene, like teeth brushing or taking a shower.