Ashtanga yoga started with the unearthing of the ancient manuscript Yoga Korunta that describes a unique system of Hatha yoga as practiced and created by the ancient sage Vamana Rishi.. Today, Ashtanga Yoga is taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, in Mysore, India. Around twenty-five years ago he took this style of yoga to the West and still teaches today at the age of 91. It is said to be the original series of asana practice prescribed by the sage Patanjali.
According to the Yoga Korunta, emphasis is on breath-synchronized movement. In this, the practitioner practises a pose with precise breathing patterns that are linked to it. This breathing technique is called Ujjayi pranayama, or the victorious breath. It is a pranayama (breathing exercise) that generates a lot of internal heat and much sweat. Subsequently it purifies and detoxifies the body. This practice even produces valuable hormones and nutrients that are most often massaged back into the body, while the breath ensures efficient circulation of blood. The result of this is enhanced blood circulation, a light and strong body and a peaceful mind.
You must follow a proper sequence while practicing Ashtanga Yoga. For one thing, you have to graduate from a sequence of poses before proceeding onto the next. The Primary Series (Yoga Chikitsa) is intended to detoxify and aligns the body while purifying it so that toxins do not obstruct. The Intermediate Series (Nadi Shodhana) is designed to purify the nervous system. It opens up and clears the energy channels, thus letting energy pass through easily. The Advanced Series A, B, C, and D (Sthira Bhaga) incorporate the grace and stamina of the practice. For this intense flexibility is necessary.
You had best find an experienced and trained teacher to help you through the practice of Ashtanga Yoga. It is an intense and rigorous practice done 6 days a week, at then end of which you are sure to experience inner peace and fulfillment with every breath you take.