Brief History of Ashtanga Yoga

The Ashtanga Vinyasa series is said to have its origin in an ancient text called the Yoga Korunta, compiled by Vamana Rishi, which Krishnamachariya, the father of modern yoga received from his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari at Mount Kailash in the early 20th century.

The origins of yoga itself are obscure and estimated as being somewhere between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago and at that time, yoga was practiced mainly by a small group of  yogis who lived in caves and forests, far from society. Krishnamacharya is be considered by many as the yogi who brought yoga into the mainstream . Among his students were present day teachers such as K. Pattabhi Jois (founder of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga) B.K.S. Iyengar (founder of Iyengar Yoga) Indra Devi, and Krishnamacharya’s son T.K.V. Desikachar.

The popular system of Ashtanga Yoga that is widely practiced today, traces its more recent origins back to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois became a student of Sri T. Krishnamacharya in 1927 at the age of 12. Over the next twenty-five years, he learned and mastered the practices passed on to him by his Guru and in turn, passed them onto his students.

Daily or regular practice is highly emphasized in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga is traditionally taught in Mysore style (supervised self practice, named after the city in India where Ashtanga originates), where each student moves through the practice at his or her own pace and level. An individual with an established Ashtanga practice might take between an hour and two hours, depending on his or her own personal speed, but a beginner will likely have a shorter practice