What is the Ashtanga Yoga System?

The Ashtanga vinyasa system of yoga is based on a specific series of postures and the vinyasas (movements) in between. Sri K. Pattahbi Jois, known as Guruji to his students, founded this system of yoga and taught for many decades in his home town of Mysore, India.

The traditional way to practice Ashtanga is Mysore style, but the Studio also offers a variety of “led” classes where a teacher gives verbal instruction to guide students through a unified practice.

Guruji with Keith in Mysore, India

Guruji with Keith in Mysore, India

What is ujjayi breath?

An important aspect of the Ashtanga system is ujjayi breathing — breathing with sound.  We inhale and exhale through the nose while closing the back of the throat, in an even rhythm that is intended to be a means of meditation and smooth movement.

What is dristi (gaze)?

Each pose has its own dristi (gaze). It is usually either up between the eyebrows, or down towards the tip of the nose. Dristi lessens distractions, directs the practitioner’s energy, and enhances balance.

What is a moon day?

A Moon Day is a day on which there is a new or full moon. In keeping with tradition, no Mysore classes are held on these days, based on a belief in India that it is inauspicious to do so. Please check the Studio calendar for upcoming Moon Days. We do hold all other classes on Moon Days, since these are not as tradition-bound as Mysore.

What is the opening chant?

It is traditional to participate in an opening chant in Sanskrit before practice. Although we rarely lead group opening chants, many people choose to say the chant quietly to themselves before Mysore practice. 

Hear Pattahbi Jois and his grandson, Sharat, perform the opening chant

See the words of the opening chant in both Sanskrit and English.