The following articles might be a helpful reference to you as you learn the basics of Ashtanga yoga.
If you’re new to Ashtanga, read about Ashtanga or start moving with the Sun Salutation sequence. If you want a stylized Sun Salutation (if you have injuries or are very stiff, for example), here is a video.
This article discusses the method of learning to take vinyasa, or do “jump backs”, between seated poses.
This article provides discussion, translation, and interpretation of the Ashtanga mantra.
This article is about Bandha (there is a video embedded, too).
Asana: Pose / Posture
Asana literally means ‘seat.’ It is taken today to mean a Yoga pose or posture. Each asana presents its own challenges and opportunities, and yet each is simply a new form or container for the breath to fill. Competence in an Asana is not simply creating the physical appearance of the pose; it is when the breath is full and unlabored, the entire body is intelligent and participating fully in the effort, the is mind clear and focused. When we begin to work on a new, difficult asana, the breath is shallow, rapid, or held, and parts of the body are stiff, weak, painful, forgotten, injured, or immobile. The Ashtanga sequences are crafted to systematically uncover and rehabilitate these deficiencies, frequently ones that we were unaware of. Over time, with intelligent practice, each part of the body and mind becomes strong, light, and healthy. Continue reading…
The earliest surviving record of Ashtanga Yoga is Yoga Sutra, which outlines the Ashtanga system as one of several ways to reduce unhealthy mental patterns and self-identifications to the extent that true, fully accurate perception becomes possible. Though there are other kinds of Yoga with 6 (Sadanga Yoga), 15 (Pachadashanga Yoga), etc, limbs, Ashtanga Yoga is the basis of most modern Yoga practices. These 8 practices are to be interwoven and constantly revisted, rather than experienced as a linear progression from start to end.
Ashta : Eight
Anga : Limbs / Components
Yoga : Device or Skill of Contemplation
1. Yama – Restraints
Ahimsa – Restraint against Violence
Satya – Restraint against Deception
Asteya – Restraint against Stealing
Brahmacharya – Restraint against Wasting Vital Energy
Aparigraha – Restraint against Possessiveness/Greed
2. Niyama – Pursuits
Saucha – Cleanliness
Santosha – Contentment
Tapas – Efforts & Self-Discipline
Svadhyaya – Studies
Ishvarapranidhana – Surrender of the ego
3. Asana – Posture/Movement
4. Pranayama – Breath/Energy Expansion
5. Pratyahara – Control of the Senses
6. Dharana – Concentration (One-pointed awareness with effort)
7. Dhyana – Meditation (One-pointed awareness without effort)
8. Samadhi – One-Pointed Awareness with Ego-less Absorption