The shala is currently closed due to the COVID-19 quarantine.




The shala is currently closed due to COVID-19 quarantine.

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is defined by the sutras of Patanjali as the eight limbs of yoga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.  Asana (posture) is the third limb and is what people normally think of when they think of yoga. 

Asana is the most commonly practiced limb because asana works with the physical body, which is the most accessible means of breaking through the shells of numbness (absence of awareness) which surround our existence.  Continued practice leads one beyond asana through all eight limbs of yoga in accordance with Patanjali's sutras.

The asana system of ashtanga vinyasa yoga consists of six series of asanas. The beginning series is the primary series, known as yoga chikitsa. The series are designed to be practiced methodically, in such a way that one pose leads to another through the threads of vinyasa, which are the linking of breath and movement. The practice of tristhana focuses the mind on breath, gaze, and posture.

Ashtanga yoga is a moving mediation that will challenge your mind, body, and spirit. 

Mysore Classes


The system is transmitted through a method of self-practice, called Mysore style (named after the city in India where it originated and is still taught today), in which students practice independently in a group setting under the guidance of a teacher.  The teacher provides each student assistance and instruction for the specific actions which inform each posture.  As a result, the student progresses through the series.  The purpose of practicing the series is not to develop physical or mental abilities.  It is to repeatedly and consistently present practitioners with an opportunity to examine their boundaries, and their reactions to encountering those boundaries.

One does not need to know the primary series, or even have any yoga experience at all, to begin Mysore practice.  In fact, Mysore style is the safest and most empowering approach for new students to develop an ashtanga yoga practice. The period of time shown on the schedule is the time that the space is available for students to come and do their practice; as long as you finish by the end of the practice period, you can come any time during the scheduled time. New students should expect their first practice to last 30-35 minutes.

Led Classes

In a led class, the instructor counts the vinyasas and breaths, to lead the practitioners through the sequence, following a steady rhythm.  This enables the practitioner to focus entirely on tristhana, the three key elements of the practice: breath, asana (posture), and drishti (gaze).  By focusing on these three elements, asana practice becomes a vehicle for pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense withdrawal), dharana (concentration), and dhyana (meditation), which, when practiced consistently, can lead one towards samadhi.  A led class is actually a more advanced practice than Mysore practice, because the practitioner must know the sequence and be able to keep up with the count, which may contradict the common perception that Mysore practice is more advanced. 

Copyright 2019 by Chris Guzik