The yogic philosophy and practice is passed on to a student from an experienced teacher, who has learned and practiced with their own teacher. The lineage can be compared to a family tree, tracing back and back and back from student/teacher relationships until it becomes more of a legend than a historical origin. Sri T. Krishnamacharya is known as the source for most of the modern, westernized yoga we know and practice today with students turned teachers such as B. K. S. Iyengar, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, A.G Mohan, and so many more yogis. From these great teachers, we got Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and Svastha Yoga; of course there are countless other modern yogis and styles that stem from these Greats, but you get the idea! The beautiful thing about this relationship and lineage is that it allows the once student to become the teacher. It allows for tradition to be melted into something personal and thus, your individuality and Self take on your Yoga and it can become exactly what you need it to be. You are here to find You and while there is a roadmap to get you there, your roadmap is allowed to look absolutely different than anyone else's. Your physical practice is allowed to look absolutely different than anyone else's.
There are eight practices to be aware, and more importantly, familiar with as you integrate yoga into your life. They are commonly associated with Ashtanga Yoga, however all styles of yoga are interconnected and built upon the Ashtanga method that was passed on to Krishnamacharya, so whether you are a dedicated Ashtangi practitioner or a free flowing vinyasa lover, these eight limbs will allow you to "get more" out of your practice. The more you allow your understanding of yoga to become a lifestyle rather than a workout or fad, the more you will connect with your Self and your physical practice will in turn have longevity. Ashtanga translated is "eight limbs" which are defined in Patanjai's Yoga Sutras:
What we commonly know as Yoga focuses primarily on asana, the physical practice. At any given point, whether you believe you have started your practice or not, you have probably been incorporating at least one of these in your life. That was reassuring to me when I began my yogic studies because at first glance, I thought I would simply be exercising and breathing and it can feel overwhelming to see what you're actually getting into, but really it's simple. It's already a part of you by way of being before you ever step on a yoga mat. In a short period, we will say one to five years, you can easily attain regular practice in most of these elements and they won't feel like practice at all (well, perhaps asana will always feel like practice). However, samadhi is not readily attainable, maybe not even in one lifetime. Total peace is not a fleeting peaceful feeling at the end of your asana, or like the peace you may experience during a deep meditation. These moments are glimpses into what is waiting and what is coming, and only with a dedicated and constant practice will samadhi in it's entirety come.
So why are we so caught up on Asana? Well, regular physical practice will cleanse and detox not only the physical body, but the spiritual heart. There are six poisons, not unlike deadly sins, known as arishadvarga:
Daily asana practice is the fundamental and sure way to fully experience the benefits of yoga. To rid yourself of these six poisons, you have to practice with dedication in order to change the embedded layers of deeply rooted negative behavioral patterns, known as samskaras. Daily practice will ignite an inner purification and through this eight limbed roadmap, slowly slowly your mind body and spirit will transform as peace settles in.
There is simply no better time than now. This moment is all that there is, you are ready now. To begin your asana journey, try out some of my guided practices here. If you don't think of any limbs or poison when you first begin to practice, don't worry! As your body adjusts, opens, strengthens and transforms, your mind will follow not far behind and with that, more and more will begin to make sense and come into your life with little effort. What you are seeking will find you. Namaste.