Origin: One of the oldest forms of yoga, Ashtanga yoga was first recorded in ancient Indian manuscripts, but brought to life by K. Pattabhi Jois, who has been teaching it since 1948. Ashtanga (which literally translates to eight-limbed yoga) is influenced by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, a yogic guideline for a meaningful life.
Philosophy: The Ashtanga technique is concerned with linking breath and movement—also known as vinyasa. The advanced practice utilizes the dristi (the gaze) and the bandhas (internal body locks), which assist in holding the challenging poses of the sequence.
What to Expect: Think of traditional Ashtanga as the zen form of yoga. You’ll flow from pose to pose with your breath—no props, no music, and no self-help lecturing—staying present in the moment. You’ll earn your savasana, the final relaxation pose, with plenty of arm strengthening chaturangas, inversions, and other advanced poses.
Try it if…
… you’re looking for an old-school, kick-ass practice that’s rooted in tradition rather than trend.