Ashtanga is a spiritual practice aimed at revealing the dualism of day-to-day life: body and mind, I versus the world, better or worse, so that we can grasp the true reality of nondualism.
EXPLORE THE UNKNOWN
Life is spirit and life is driven by the spirit. Hence, ashtanga is a way of life.
Moral and ethical principles—yama and nyama—are the foundations of this discipline. What makes a man a human being? First and furthermost his capacity to refrain from violence: violence can be psychological, emotional or physical, violence can be toward himself or toward others. To practice ashtanga implies to abide first and furthermost to the principle of non-violence, ahimsa, which is the first yama and building block of the eight limbs.
Oftentimes the word yoga is associated with physical postures; when a posture is done for the sake of exhibition it is pure circus, it is a cult of the ego. If the seeds of yama & nyama are not comprehended and enacted the asana practice will only result in a stronger ego.
TAMING THE MIND
For the sculptors of the body, for the cult of the ego, ashtanga is confined to a fixed set of postures: yoga chikitsa, nadi shodana, sthira bhaga (primary, intermediate and advanced A&B). Practicing outside these fixed sets of postures implies one is failing to be recognized as an asthanga practitioner.
* with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois leading these classes, these are the most reliable videos in order to study and understand the vinyasa method.
Note: the series mighy have changed throughout time, especially third series. Do practice under the guidance of a teacher.
Mattia spent years learning and residing at the historical source of this practice, Mysore, assisting and studying under the guidance of BNS Iyengar—the last living student of Sri T. Krishnamacharya. Being in such proximity to a man that saw ashtanga yoga being conceived and defined, Mattia has seen the authentic practice of ashtanga and strives to pass on this wisdom and authenticity in each interaction with his students.
“Yoga is for God’s realization, not for exibition”
Sri BNS Iyengar
The essence of ashtanga lays not in a fixed set of postures, these are nothing other than body purification. At the foundation of the asana practice there is the method of tristana, which can be translated into breathing, gazing and moving: each posture is connected to the next by the breath, each breath is concentrated into a specific visual point, drishti. Learning to master the breath while keeping a concentrated mind will inevitably lead the practitioner into a meditative state beyond the physical.
“It is trough concentration that we quiet the mind and obtain our true nature–sva bhava”
As water in a river needs to be confined by its shores to eventually reach the vastity of the ocean, the yoga aspirant needs to follow certain rules. This does not imply a mechanized and dry style of teaching but rather a deep-rooted and tailored method. Over years of practice and self-study Mattia has realized the importance of the most subtle and fundamental details in the execution, entrance and exit of each asana. He places very little importance on the perfect looking posture, instead focusing on sealing the energetic locks. Where intuition meets knowledge it becomes wisdom, and this is the main tool he uses to assess and modify the practice for each student. His style emanates from the heart, arising from his extensive experiences in Bharat Mata, Mother India.
“Sthira sukam asanam” YS 2.46
BNS Iyengar is also a great pranayama and philosophy teacher who believes that the asana practice clears the body mind complex of impurities. The aspirant needs to fill their body and psyche with fresh energy in order to meditate on the absolute. “If you keep on cleaning the plate but never put food on it and eat, your hunger will subsist,” BNS states, similarly a body-oriented practice is leading only to spiritual starvation.” Inspired by his teacher, Mattia emphasizes enriching the asana practice with a pranayama routine while delving into philosophical understanding of our reality.
Along with his experiences as a life long student Mattia loves to organize seminars, engage with students and pass on his knowledge. Following him is an enriching experience leading to the acquisition of the skills necessary for a life-long spiritual practice. If you would like to engage Mattia for his teachings he is available to provide workshops internationally ranging from a weekend to a month long retreat as well as for private instruction and online counselling.