Ashtanga yoga, sometimes referred to as Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, is a style of yoga that was developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and T. Krishnamacharya in the 20th century. They claimed it originated from a system of Hatha yoga described in the ancient text, the "Yoga Korunta." Used in this context, the term, Ashtanga yoga, refers to this particular style of yoga.
Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic, flowing style that connects the movement of the body with the breath. The method stresses the importance of daily practice of a set series of movements. There are six series of Ashtanga yoga sequences, which the student progresses through at their own pace.
There are several key principles that underlie the practice of Ashtanga yoga:
Ashtanga yoga classes are often taught in the “Mysore style.” In this style, practitioners are encouraged to memorize the sequence they are working on, then individually work through the sequence during the class. The teacher then comes around to adjust and support, rather than guiding the individual's practice. Thus, the students set their own pace consistent with their ability, but practice in the company of other students and with the encouragement of their teacher. They should master each pose in the sequence before they move on to the next.
Ashtanga yoga is considered a vigorous, orderly practice and, as such, is more suited to students who want a dynamic and rigorous yoga practice.