An ancient system of Yoga recorded by the sage Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta, Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient manuscript. It is said to contain lists of many different groupings of asanas, plus highly original teachings on Vinyasa, Drishti, Bandhas, Mudras, and Philosophy. Legend has it that the text of the Yoga Korunta was bestowed upon Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900's by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari. Later, it was handed down to...
...Pattabhi Jois during his studies with Krishnamacharya, starting in 1927. Pattabhi Jois has been teaching Ashtanga Yoga from his Yoga Shala, the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, since 1948. He does this in accordance with the sacred tradition of teacher-discipline succession.
To do the asanas properly in Ashtanga Yoga, you have to incorporate the use of Vinyasa and Tristhana. Vinyasa refers to the system of breathing and movement. For every movement, you take one breath. For instance, in Surya Namaskar there are 9 Vinyasas. The first involves inhaling as you raise your arms above your head, and join your hands together. The next is to exhale while bending forwards; placing the arms next to one's feet, etc. This way all poses are assigned a fixed number of Vinyasas.
The aim of Vinyasa is or internal cleansing. By coordinating breath and movement during asanas the blood gets heated, thus cleaning and thinning it. As a result it circulates more freely. Better blood circulation helps ease joint pains and gets rid of toxins and subsequent disease from the body. Sweat produced by the heat of Vinyasa then takes the impurities out of the body. So, through the use of Vinyasa, your body becomes healthy, light and strong.
Tristhana means union of 3 spots of attention or action. These are posture, breathing system and looking place. These 3 are vital to Yoga practice, and cover 3 levels of purification: the body, mind and nervous system. They are always done in tandem with one other.