Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga as taught by Sri K Pattabhi Jois is a traditional hatha yoga practice that is very focused about a few aspects of asana (yoga poses) that are fundamental and necessary to its practice. They are called “Tristana” and are the following three qualities of asana:

  1. Dristi are the points of focus for the eyes. Because eyesight is the predominating sensory factor that prohibits meditative aspects of the mind, it must be controlled through points of focus. These points of focus are adhered to by all practitioners of Ashtanga in one way or another, and they are as follows:

    1. Nasagram drishti: Tip of the nose

    2. Ajna chakra or bhrumadhya drishti: Between the eyebrows

    3. Nabhi chakra drishti: Navel

    4. Hastagram drishti: Hand

    5. Padayoragram drishti: Toes

    6. Parshva drishti: Far to the right

    7. Parshva drishti: Far to the left

    8. Angushtha Ma Dhya drishti: Thumbs

    9. Urdhva or antara drishti: Up to the sky

  2. Bandhas are “muscle locks” that are energetic powers created by the burst of energy utilized as the sections of muscles are clenched. The most common bandhas utilized in Ashtanga are:

    1. Mula Bandha; root lock/pelvic floor

    2. Uddhiyana Bandha; upward flying/redirecting of downward motion in the region of the belly

    3. Jalandhara Bandha; the throat lock (rare, but typically involving a lowering of the chin)

  3. Pranayama is the fourth limb of yoga. There are many practices in hatha yoga that involve pranayama, but the first pranayama taught in Ashtanga is called “Ujjayi” which is a hissing sound made by a slight closure of the glottis in the throat.

Online Resources

In this day and age confusion reigns and it can be as difficult to find legitimate yoga teaching and knowledge as it is to maintain a practice. All students of this school are highly encouraged to seek out a great contemporary master of yoga that developed a traditional program in Seattle, Washington. David Garrigues is responsible for much of the growth in the Ashtanga Yoga community in the Northwest over the past two decades. He is tirelessly devoted to uncovering secrets of yoga and passing them to the population in any means possible, including online through videos, podcasts, and audio teachings. Please utilize these resources as they are consistent with the teachings you will undertake at the yoga school in Bellingham.