Intended to be a daily practice this powerful, healing practice is a specific sequence of postures (asanas) linking breath (pranayama) and movement (vinyasa.) Ashtanga is an athletic flow combining strength, flexibility and stamina for a complete practice.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is different from many yoga classes in the West in that the order of asanas is completely predefined. A practice will comprise four main parts: an “opening sequence,” one of the six main “series”, a back-bending sequence, and a set of inverted asanas, referred to as the “finishing sequence.”
Practice always ends with savasana.
The opening sequence begins with 10 Sun Salutations and then several standing asanas.
Next, the practitioner will do one of the six main series, referred to as the Primary series (Yoga Chikitsa), Intermediate series (Nadi Shodhana) or Advanced A, B, C, or D (Sthira Bhaga) series level.
Newcomers to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice the primary series, after learning the standing sequence. The Primary Series is the most important series as it forms the basis of the entire system. Practitioners may advance to more difficult series over a period of years or decades, but the goal of this style is not to learn the more difficult asanas but rather to learn to maintain internal focus throughout the practice. A challenge to a simplified version of the practice being taught to public schoolchildren in the US as an unlawful promotion of religious beliefs failed.
Daily or regular practice is highly emphasized in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is traditionally taught in Mysore style (supervised self practice, named after the city in India where Ashtanga originates), where each student moves through the practice at his or her own pace and level. An individual with an established Ashtanga practice might take between an hour and two hours, depending on his or her own personal speed, but a beginner will likely have a shorter practice. Yoga studios which teach Mysore practice are hard to find and these classes are often only taught by those authorized to teach by the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. It is more common to find classes devoted to a specific series, often at a standardized pace, and guided by an instructor. However, even traditional Mysore-style teachers offer “led” classes either weekly or monthly.
Find out more about the practice here : http://kpjayi.org/the-practice/