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What is vinyasa or power yoga?

What is vinyasa or power yoga? 5

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is the hardest of the dynamic styles in yoga. At the heart of the style are postures (asanas), which are connected with each other by certain repetitive movements (vinyasas), all accompanied by breathing exercises (pranayama). In this style, there are three main bandhas and drishti, on which students should concentrate their attention.

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Ashtanga – Classical yoga is a style that is not adapted for mass use, it is not tailored to the learner. Ashtanga Vinyasa nurtures a strong body and spirit, in the process of overcoming all the complexities that arise during training.

The history of the school

As a matter of fact Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a subspecies of Hatha yoga, and also adheres to the orientation to physical development. The teachings of Ashtang Vinyasi yoga appeared in the second half of the 20th century. This school was founded by Sri Krishna Pattabhi Joyce, who was a disciple of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya for three decades. After the death of the founder of the school, his teaching was continued by his daughter and grandson.

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The basis for Ashtang Vinyasa yoga was such works as Bhanavan-gita, Shiva-samhita, Patanjali-darshan and other ancient treatises on yoga. Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a very complex system of difficult physical exercises, this is what Joyce did, insisting that practice should fully comply with the oldest traditions. The main written work on Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is written by Pattabhi Joyce “Yoga-Mala”.

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In Russia, this style of Ashtanga Vinyas appeared only at the end of the 20th century, when the translation of “Yoga-Mala” became available to the Russian-speaking reader.

The Ashtanga yoga school will be interesting to active people who are striving to achieve physical perfection.

Practice features

The difference of this school is that for the pile of postures (asanas) special methods of movement and breathing (vinyasas) are used. Vinyasa allows the student to remain concentrated, while he moves from one position to another. All asanas are performed with a certain number of vinyasas. The minimum for one asana is five vinyasas, the maximum is eight. Vinyasas are necessary to warm up the body. When performing Viñas, the blood “boils”, clears all organs and itself from harmful substances and toxins. In addition, more blood flows to the tissues and joints, it becomes easier and more comfortable to perform asanas.

When performing the practices of the aforementioned yoga, three main locks (bandhas) are used that create and hold an internal fire, and also loop the energy of the body. These bandhas are named: Udiyana – Bandha, Mula – Bandha and Jalandhara – Bandha. In practice, drishti is used. Drishti – the technique of concentration. They are used to focus attention while performing asanas. In total, nine drishti are known: on the nose, on the navel, on the palms, on the feet, on the thumbs, on the eyebrow, and also the gaze upward, the gaze to the right, the gaze downward. Each drishta is intended for a certain vinyasa.

The teaching of Ashtanga Yoga states that the power of Vinyasa acts only when a person reaches a certain state of purification (Tristhana). In this purification must occur on three levels: purification of the body, mind, nervous system. During the state of Tristhana, one should control the posture, breathing and direction of concentration (drishti).

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Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga difficulty levels

In this yoga style there are six levels of difficulty, each level represents a sequence of poses. Each successive sequence is more complicated than the previous one. The first two levels of complexity are called Yoga Chikitsa Nadi Shodhanaili, for their study, the students take several years. Not the rest of the four sequences can master.

How are classes on Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga

By tradition, at the beginning of the lesson, the students sing mantras, after which the warming complex of exercises Surya Namaskar (Salutation to the Sun) is performed. Throughout the exercise, Ujaya’s breath and Udiyana-badha power lock are held.

Beginners perform exercises at a leisurely pace, accompanied by detailed explanations of the teacher. The initial sequence consists of ninety poses. Beginners are able to perform only a small part of them, but gradually the number of asanas increases, and, to the already mastered, new ones are added. With the growth of skill, not only new asanas are added, but the tempo of performance is accelerated.

When a student masters all ninety asanas from the first sequence, he continues to practice them regularly and adds asanas from the next series of exercises. At the end of the lessons, a headstand is usually performed, called Sharshasana.


The main effect of practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa with yoga is purification. Inside a person, “fire flares up,” and with profuse perspiration, all harmful substances are eliminated from the body. Following the body, the nervous system and senses come to normal.

If you long to engage in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, then your body will become incredibly strong and flexible, and the mind calm and focused.

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Pattabhi Joyce believed that a person must cleanse himself of 6 poisons: envy, anger, desire, greed, deception, laziness. According to the teachings, one who will zealously practice yoga can, through internal fire, heap out these negative elements from his body and become open to God.

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