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About Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga – Eight Limbs

Ashtanga Yoga - Dublin – Eight Limbs

Yoga is an ancient system for the development and maintenance of health, harmony and balance of body, mind and spirit. In other words, it provides the means to live a relaxed, healthy and happy life and enables us to cope even when times are hard.

In the classic Yoga text, the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, dating back some 2000 years, we are told that to achieve this balance and the deep awareness vital to a happy life, one should practice the 8 limbs of Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga.


The Ashta Angani, or 8 Limbs,  are listed as:

“yama niyama asana pranayama pratyahara dharana dhyana samadhayo’stavangaani”

The eight limbs of Yoga are: the 5 observances, the 5 actions, postures, breathing, mastery of senses, concentration, meditation and joy.
Yoga Sutra II. 29.

In practice Ashtanga Yoga consists of Postures, which work to strengthen and realign the body, breathing techniques to increase vitality and strengthen the nervous system and concentration and meditation practices to calm the mind and ease stress. Regular practice will improve the functioning of all of our systems, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive etc., bringing us the good health that will be the foundation of a better quality of life.

These physical benefits in turn improve one’s state of mind, bringing about greater relaxation, less stress and an ability to cope, no matter what life throws at us. What we find, in fact, is that life tends to unfold in a very positive way, and things seem to work out for us as we would wish, or as our teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois used to say “Practise and all is coming!”, meaning health, happiness and whatever we truly need.

Vinyasa – Flow, Breath Co-ordinated Movement

The system of Ashtanga vinyasa, the practice of yoga postures in a flowing sequence, with each movement co-ordinated with the breath, is said by Sri K.Pattabhi Jois to have been translated by his Guru, Krishnamacharya, from an ancient Sanskrit document called Yoga Korunta. This gave instructions for the practice of yoga postures (asana), the benefits of these asana, and the precise method of breathing and movement to be used in performing them, (vinyasa). Until his death in May 2009, Pattabhi Jois had been teaching this system of Yoga in Mysore and worldwide for over 60 years.

Yoga – Union, Enlightenment, Bliss

The word Yoga means union. This can be thought of as the union of body and mind, of mind and spirit, of the individual and the universal. Such union creates happiness and helping students to achieve this state by making themselves healthy through the traditional practices of Ashtanga Yoga, (as outlined by Patanajali over 2000 years ago) is the goal of our School.