The practise of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga
The Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga - practise contains the following elements:
- Ashtanga Yoga mantra
- Body locks or seals - Bandhas
- special breathing technique - Ujjayi Pranayama
- warming up sequence - sun salutation A and B, standing postures
- one of the series (1,2, or one of the advanced series)
- backward bends
- finishing postures
- final relaxation
The mantra at the beginning of the lesson and the practise is an invocation to the inner teacher, who will be a guide to the right way that will lead to enlightenment.
In a meditative posture we focus our mind inwards, to our body and our breathing.
Slowly, we will find a space for a special inner peace and concentration in our everyday life.
Then we sing the mantra and the practise starts.
Translation of the mantra:
I pray to the lotus feet of the supreme guru
Who teaches knowledge, awakening the great happiness of the Self revealed
Who acts like the jungle physician
Able to remove the delusion from the poison of conditioned existence
To Patanjali, an incarnation of Adisesa, white in colour with a thousand radiant heads (in his form as the divine serpent, Ananta), human in form below the shoulders, holding the sword of discrimination, a wheel of fire representing infinite time, and the conch representing divine sound to him,
Vande I bow gurunam to the plurality of gurus caranaravinde two lotus feet sandarsita to bring to sight svatma pure Being sukhava happiness bodhe awakened nihsreyase refuge jangalikayamane lit.:jungle hut, meaning shaman, jungle physician samsara conditioned existence halahala poison moha delusion santyai peace abahu down to the shoulders purusakaram assumes the form of a man sankha conch shell cakra a wheel (discus of light or infinite time) asi sword (of discrimination) dharinam holding sahasra thousands sirasam heads svetam radiant, white pranamami I prostrate patanjalim the sage Patanjali om
The Sanskrit word bandha means energy lock. The Bandhas are supporting the inner energy, the strength outside and the alignment of the body. Physically, the locks are a light contraction and extension in particular parts of the body.
1.. Mulabandha - root lock or root foundation
It is accomplished in the region between the pelvic floor and the perineum.
2.. Uddiyana Bandha - "upward flying"
This bandha is performed in the region of the lower belly (below the navel)
3.. Jalandhara Bandha - chin lock
You accomplish this bandha by bringing together breastbone and chin. This bandha has a special importance in the meditation postures and during the practise of Pranayama.
All bandhas together are also called Maha (big) bandha.
When we talk about the right achievement of the bandhas, we also have to look at the breathing. The breathing during the practise of Asanas in the flow of Vinyasa is ujjayi. A light contraction in the area of the larynx narrows the opening of the windpipe and when you breathe with this contraction you can hear a soft, sibilant sound.
sun salutation A
sun salutation B
series 1 (Yoga Chikitsa ~ Yoga therapy)
series 2 (Nadi Shodhana ~ purification of the Nadis)
final relaxation (Savasana)
With the mantra at the beginning we have started a journey to our inside, a journey to inner peace. Here we harvest and enjoy the fruits of our practise.