Vinyasa of Ashtanga Yoga

by DailyYogaReflections on August 7, 2013

Post image for Vinyasa of Ashtanga Yoga

Vinyasa of Ashtanga Yoga


The term vinyasa is often used to describe movement from one posture to another and the flow in the movement. The original vinyasa system of yoga was the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga as taught by Krishna Pattabhi Jois. What is ashtanga yoga?

The ashtanga yoga teacher trainings of Pattabhi Jois tell us that Vinyasa is a breath and movement system. This means that one breath is used per movement. This helps with coordinating the breath with the movement, with regulating the breath and with focusing the mind on the breath – helping to bring you closer towards a state of meditation. Vinyasa helps you also to keep the body warm and this helps with keeping the muscles supple, ready for stretching and with a good supply of oxygenated blood so that they are ready for exercise.

Pattabhi Jois taught that vinyasa is used for internal cleansing. His theory stated that thick blood is bad for you and causes disease inside the body. By practising ashtanga yoga and particularly the vinyasas, we heat the blood and make it thin so that it can circulate freely. In terms of scientific theory we can say that oxygenated blood is transported more efficiently around the body as the blood circulation improves allowing for repair of tissue more easily. Pattabhi Jois’s theory also talks about the increased circulation helping to remove toxins from all parts of the body.

ashtanga yoga vinyasa



Hence yoga is used to purify the body. However, after this, the nervous system is also cleansed. The second series of ashtanga yoga involves many backbends. Backbends open up the spaces between the vertebrae and hence allow for increased circulation around the vertebrae. Also backbends bring about compression on certain areas of the spine. This helps to hydrate the spine and the tissues around the spine as well as spinal nerves. When this happens you relax.

The teachings of Pattabhi Jois tell us as well that the sense organs are purified through yoga practice. If we are attached to the sense organs then we easily become attached to the outside world. Yoga teaches us to look within and to seek contentment within. Through vinyasa practice we do not only move towards mind control (as we learn to focus more and more on the breath) but also we learn to move towards pratyahara (sense withdrawal). Physical yoga practice, especially forward bending postures, all take you deeper within yourself where you come to a state of pratyahara. Vinyasa, especially, takes you towards pratyahara as you focus more and more on the breath. Vinyasa practice moves you towards a very deep awareness of yourself and teaches you control over your mind.

Hence, purification in the vinyasa of Ashtanga Yoga comes through the body being cleansed, the nervous system being cleansed and also through sense organs being purified and cleansed.

(Article Source:

Leave a Comment