There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.
Somebody's boring me. I think it's me.
When the mind is still, the asana is correct.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
“The body is the way to our spirit, to our true Self. That’s what asana is for”.
Tim Feldmann is the director of Miami Life Center, the yoga shala he founded with his wife Kino MacGregor and Matt Tashjian. He was set on the yoga path by his first teacher Lino Miele and is Authorized to teach directly by the founder of the Ashtanga Yoga Method, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and his grandson, R. Sharath Jois. A practitioner of the Advanced A series Tim is dedicated to Ashtanga Yoga’s traditional method.
A near fatal falling accident in 1992 led Tim on the yogic path. His teaching integrates extensive studies of F.M. Alexander Technique and sitting meditation with 20 years of experience as a professional dancer and an internationally acclaimed choreographer. His in-depth knowledge of functional anatomy, alignment as well as the idiosyncratic body and mind in stillness and in motion creates the platform upon which his solid understanding of the Ashtanga method rests.
Tim’s humorous, straight forward yet profound teaching style makes him a cherished teacher, traveling extensively throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas. Read more
The Ashtanga Yoga system is a 5000 year old living lineage. In an unbroken line of teachers, sages and gurus it culminates in the life of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, his son R. Sharath Jois and every Ashtanga practitioner today. Developed by TKV Krishnamacharya and his student Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois who tells us that it was derived from the ancient indian text, the Yoga Kurunta, written by Vamana Rishi. Krishnamacharya is one of the world’s most legendary masters of yoga. He was initiated into the science of Yoga by his Guru, Rama Mohan Brahmachari. Among Krishnamacharya’s students we find TKV Desikachar (his son), BKS Iyengar and Indra Devi along side Jois who studied with him from 1927 and into the 1950’s. Jois, or Guruji as he is affectionally called by his students, continues the lineage of these teachings with his grandson R. Sharath Jois and teaches students from around the world.
The Ashtanga Yoga Vinyasa system is sequences of postures that vary in difficulty and benefit. The flow between each posture is an integral part of the practice.
There are three groups of movement sequences and six series in total: The Primary Series, Yoga Chikitsa, cleanses and tunes especially the physical body. The Intermediate Series, Nadi Shodhana, purifies the nervous system, opening up for more subtle experiences of our energies and mind. The Advanced Series A, B, C and D, Sthira Bhaga, literally meaning strength and grace, which further explores flexibility, vigor and tranquility as an integrated synergy, requiring higher levels of humility and dedication. Each series of postures must be accomplished before proceeding to the next. The practice is cumulative and it is essential to follow the order of postures (asanas) meticulously as each individual asana builds on the previous one and prepares practitioners for the next. The sequential process of learning Ashtanga Yoga allows its practitioners to develop the concentration, strength, flexibility and stamina needed to progress in a safe and balanced manner. Each asana, or group of asanas, has a specific effect that is counter balanced by the previous asana, or group of asanas.
Breathing cannot be overemphasized in the Ashtanga system. When we are born we breathe in and when we die we breathe out – in between these two breathes our life spans. Guruji says: ‘Ashtanga practice is a breathing practice … the rest is just bending’. The breath is the key to the the realm of tranquility and power and with it we can regulate and control our nervous system. The breath is the door between our body and our mind, the portal between meditation and asana practice and often the first step on the way to a more spiritual, soulful and happy lifestyle. Breathing is our most fundamental and vital act and holds a divine essence.
Postures are linked together through flowing movement (vinyasa). Vinyasa means breath synchronized with movement. In Ashtanga Yoga the movement is always synchronized with the breath and there is never a separation between the two actions. When the synchronization of movement and breathing is an integral part of the yoga practice and the three body locks (Moolabandha, Udiyanabandha and jalandarabandha) are applied, an internal, purifying heat is generated in the body. Unwanted toxins are released and disposed of, vital hormones and minerals flow into the bloodstream and the nervous system is purified. The result is a light and strong body.
Ashtanga Yoga utilizes a three-pronged approach called Tristana. Tristana consists of correct breathing (Ujjayi), yoga postures/asanas (including correct use of the bandhas), and the precise gazeing (dristi). This is both a method and a state and practitioners develope control of the senses, a deep awareness of themsleves and their inner sensations, emotions and workings of the mind. By maintaining this discipline with regularity and devotion, practitioners develop steadiness of body and mind.
Ashtanga literally means eight limbs. Ashtanga yoga is Patanjali yoga as prescribed in The Yoga Sutras.. The term “Ashtanga’ is commonly used in the West to describe the method taught by Jois. Patanjali’s eight limbs are:
YAMA · ethical disclipline:
ahimsa (non-harmfulness), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (refraining from sexual indulgence), aparigraha (detachment).
NIYAMA · observation & purification:
sauca (cleanliness, purity), santosha (contentment), tapah (austerity/disciplin), svadhyaya (study towards self knowledge), ishwara-pranidhana (surrender to God/higher self).
The eight branches mutually support each other and are to be learned and taken into daily committed action. An established asana practice prepares dedicated yogis for a balanced practice of the more subtle limbs such as pranayama and meditation. Embodying the Yamas and Niyamas is of essence if any of the eight limbs are to take effect. At the very heart of yoga is ethical living, honesty and compassion.
Heart of yoga
Please note that you should learn only from a traditionally trained teacher who follows the lineage of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois to ensure a safe and healthy journey for the body and mind into the science of the Ashtanga Method to yoga.