Health & Wellness

Finding Presence and Compassion Through Breath: The Power of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Israel Pasos

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is a practice that focuses on the power of breath, by becoming absorbed in the patterns of breath and asana, we experience a state of presence.

The following article is an adaptation from Ty Landrum's inspiring video:

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is a practice that centers around the power of breath. As we move through the vinyasa, we work with two basic patterns: prana, the pattern of inhalation that expands upward and outward from the heart, and apana, the pattern of exhalation that contracts downward and inward toward the pelvic floor. By allowing ourselves to become absorbed in these patterns, we lose ourselves in them and experience a state of presence in which we fully experience the patterns of prana and apana as they unfold throughout our entire being.

Through the practice of Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, we learn to press the patterns of prana and apana together, creating intense internal heat, also known as tapas. This heat of concentration burns through our conditioning, breaking down the barriers of our consciousness, and allowing us to reach out and touch the world directly. The ultimate goal of this practice is not to perfect the mind, but to wake us up to the reality of other beings, and to bring down our sense of separation from them and expose us to the intimate nature of our interrelationship. In other words, the purpose is compassion or complete openness to reality, which is the Amrita or nectar of yoga that dissolves our sense of longing and incompleteness and floods our senses with love for all beings.

Watch Ty's video here:

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