astanga

Astanga yoga is a fluid, dynamic form of practise which helps to align the body as well as improving concentration, building strength, flexibility and balance. Rhythmic breathing and flowing movements are combined to create a purifying yoga sequence, revitalizing the body and leaving the mind focused and vibrant. The practise generates a deeply cleansing internal heat which enables your body to eliminate toxins and creates a feeling of deep relaxation and lightness.

People are often intimated by Astanga yoga’s rigorous, traditional practice, but with an experienced teacher the basics of the practice can be broken down and made accessible to anyone. Helen has been practising Astanga since her early 20’s. Her practise has changed during this time to accommodate the changes in her life – having babies, time pressures with a growing family and growing older herself. This is reflected in her teaching.

‘Some days I feel like moving more slowly in my practise and enjoy using the bolsters and blankets for support. I understand when students don’t feel like a really energetic practise. I adapt the practise to suit the individual just as I do for myself.’Helen

Classes are suitable for all levels of experience, particularly those who prefer a more energetic practise, and allow each person to practice according to their own ability and advance at their own rate.

Our classes are kept small to ensure personalised attention.

The studio is fully equipped with props and blankets to make sure you get the most out of your practise and are always comfortable.

‘My aim is to offer the understanding and experience I have gained through my own yoga practice and to encourage a self practice.  I hope to pass on my enthusiasm and love of yoga and make it accessible to everyone.’Helen

Click here to learn more about Astanga Yoga

    The astanga vinyasa yoga system was discovered and systemised by Sri Krishnamacharya and his student Sri Pattabhi Jois in the early 1930s. Sri Pattabhi Jois became the principal proponent and master of the system. The practice may be as old as 5000 years but it is a growing, living knowledge and art. The series begin with sun salutations, continues through standing postures, sitting postures and then a closing sequence. The asanas are practised in a dynamic flowing sequence. Vinyasa (synchronised breath and movement) thread all the asanas together, which gives the whole practise its flow, grace and momentum. By moving through the vinyasas the body is realigned in preparation for the next posture and the body’s heat is increased. The system is designed to therapeutically realign and detoxify the body. Inner body heat is produced during the practice through special breathing (ujjayi). This, combined with important internal body locks (bandhas), induces sweating. Toxins are eliminated and the nervous system is purified. Heat and energy is also maintained in the body throughout the practise. A deep, directed focus (dristi) is maintained which focuses the concentration and brings about a meditative state while you flow through the asanas. There is a dramatic increase of energy and sense of well-being and calm. Within the astanga system there are six series or levels of practices:

  • Yoga Chikitsa (yoga therapy), the Primary Series, opens and realigns the body.
  • Nadi Shodana (nerve purification), the second or intermediate series, focuses on purifying the nervous system.
  • Stira Bhaja, the third or advanced series, is now divided into four series and cultivates tremendous strength, flexibility, control and stamina.

Astanga also has a philosophical aspect to its practice, which is outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as the “eight limbs of yoga”. The eight limbs are:

Yama (moral codes for living with the self and others) Niyama (self-purification and self-study) Asana (posture and asana practices) Pranayama (breath control for regulating our prana and apana) Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses or sense control) Dharana (concentration) Dyana (meditation) Samadhi (reaching a state of Oneness with the Universe)