ORIGIN: Means "eight limbs" in Sanskrit, and stems from the teachings of the masters; Sri T Krishnamacharya and Sri K Pattabhi Jois.
BREATH: Focus on the "ujjayi breath". This abdominal breathing pranayama is called ujjayi, or the "ocean breath". Ujjayi means "lifted up". According to the master teachings of the practice, they say 'breath is life'. Breathing is our most fundamental and vital act of life.
MOVEMENT: A dynamic, fast-paced, intense practice. A set series of postures is performed, always in the same sequential order, using the power of your breath, gradually leading the practitioner to rediscover his or her greatest potential on all levels of consciousness - physical, psychological, and spiritual. Usually performed as a 'Mysore' (Ashtanga's 'home district' in India) practice, whereby practitioners mentally know the order of poses and the teacher is there to adjust you. The Ashtanga practice is physically demanding because of the constant movement from one pose to the next. It is also challenging and rewarding in equal measure, as you mindfully flow through the sequences with each movement becoming gentle, precise, and perfectly steady.
BENEFITS: Builds strength, stamina and you'll feel re-vigorated with a boost of energy every time you practice. This demanding practice requires considerable effort, and taps into and circulates vital prana energy throughout the body, strengthening and purifying the nervous system. The mind then becomes lucid, clear and precise. The beauty is to surrender into the challenges of this practice, like the beauty of life itself.