Ashtanga yoga is an ancient healing system, which is in a form of sequenced asanas (yoga postures) to help us reconnect back to ourselves i.e. The mind and body. Ashtanga means “eight limbs” or eight branches of yoga to help us reach and ring this peaceful flow and centring point from within. These eight limbs consist of Yamas, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
Ashtanga’s eight limbs:
Yama – deals with the ethical standards, helping us to focus on our behaviour and how we conduct ourselves in life, i.e. non-violence, truthfulness, non stealing.
Niyama – is to do with self discipline and spiritual observances such as contentment, cleanliness, study of sacred scriptures and of one’s self.
Asana – are the physical postures practiced in the sequence to take care of the physical body. There we develop the habit of discipline and to concentrate, which is an important aspect of spiritual growth.
Pranayama – is breath control and to recognise the connection between breath, mind and emotions. Pranayama means to “extend life force” so to rejuvenate the body and live longer comfortably.
Pratyahara means withdrawal or sensory transcendence. To cultivate a detachment from our senses so we can direct our attention internally i.e. To step back and take a look at ourselves.
Dharana – this is to form the practice of concentration, having taken ourselves inside from the distractions of outside, we can now work with the distractions of the mind itself.
Dhyana is meditation or contemplation. Once at this stage the mind has been quieted and in this stillness there are few or no thoughts at all.
Samadhi is to find the state of ecstasy or enlightenment. The mediator merges with his or hers point of focus and transcends the self altogether.
With regular practice of this highly structured set and flow of asanas you will gain fitness, lose weight, sweat, achieve a deep purification of the body, strength and stamina, while finding flexibility, calmness of body and mind, helping reduce stress, increasing healing, building confidence, inner peace and spirituality.
Catrina’s ashtanga class
"Ashtanga is for all ages and abilities and is to work with being present with where our bodies are so that we can heal and grow. I believe and teach this healing system at a comfortable pace that is good for each student, as we are all individual. This way we can connect to our bodies with love and honour to heal the body. I myself have been taught ashtanga to a point of damage, as I was rushed though the sequence too fast for my body to open up safely and to heal properly from within. As my teacher out in India told me, “Yoga is to heal, not to break” (Sachinandana). So come along to reconnect and nurture body and mind and find that awareness of your true self. "
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