Ashtanga means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit (the ancient language in India) and it refers to the eight limbs of yoga laid out in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Ashtanga is a vigorous form of yoga that cleanses the body through increased circulation and perspiration. The internal heat that it produces purifies the muscles and organs, expelling unwanted toxins as well as releasing beneficial hormones and minerals which can nourish the body.
Pattabhi Jois (1915 – 2009) began his studies in Mysore, India at the age of 12 and became a leading practitioner and teacher of Ashtanga yoga. In 1958 he published his ‘Yoga Mala’ which incorporates six different Ashtanga series by which a student progresses at his or her own pace.
It’s taught as a specific system with the poses in a certain sequential order. If you’re working on one of the six series of the Ashtanga system, the sequences are the same whether you’re doing it here in Winchester or in New York or Mysore in India. Due to its vigorous, athletic style of practice, Ashtanga yoga appeals to those who like a sense of order and who like to do things independently.