Category Archives: Practice of Yoga

description de la catégorie : Yoga practice

Yoga teacher Marie Wittock

Sivananda Yoga is a traditional form of Haṭha Yoga from Northern India, which includes two breathing exercises, 12 main postures and relaxation episodes. The sequence is always the same, on a calm and progressive rhythm. The regularity of the postures invites you to a greater control of these, as well as to a clear evolution of your practice. The attention is put on the breathing and the relaxation, in order to relax the psychic and the body, to go deeper in each posture and to enter meditation. This type of Yoga is for all levels. A Sivananda course lasts 1h30.

Her passions for yoga and cooking have always guided Mary: yoga is what first awakened her the appetite for better nutrition. After living for 3 months in an ashram, his daily life completely changed! Apart from daily meditations and regular postures, healthy eating (vegetarian) is an aspect of yogic life she could discover. His interests in the philosophy of Yoga and the health of the body and mind encouraged him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (2016).

Marie has been teaching yoga since 2013 and continues to enrich her practice and knowledge through various learning experiences. She is currently training as a yoga teacher in Ashtanga Yoga, with Jean-Claude Garnier.

Marie Wittock – La Meilleure Part

Best of yourself with yoga & food

+32 474/53.82.93 –


The sequence of rhythmic postures: the sun salutation

The Sun Salutation or Sūryanamaskāra is a dynamic sequence of postures; it is a ritual in honor of the rising sun. This prepares the postural work that gives warmth to the body, the heart and soul.

Sunrise at Mahabalipuram

Sunrise at Mahabalipuram

Originally, the Sun Salutation is a ritual, a morning prayer, in honor of the rising sun.

“Surya” (sun) and “Namaskara” (salutation), and “prostration” are Sanskrit terms. This dynamic sequence of postures is native to Iran; it arrived in India with the Parsi, who consider the Sun Salutation as a religious duty.

The sun salutation is used in the Ashtanga Yoga

The notorious Mysore salutations, called “A” & “B” have been transmitted by Sri Krishnamacharya & Sri Pattabhi Jois. These greetings serve as a transition between postures and as a postural preparation.

  • Warm-up (muscles)
  • Release of large articulations
  • Limbering up of the spine
  • Exercises done with the synchronization of the breath (Viniyasa)

“ if the government itself understood its usefulness, and made the practice of yogāsana, the Sūryanamaskāra, and their traditions compulsory for all students in all educational institutions, boys and girls, it would help to render their lives pure, it would be render a great service to the world ”.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

 Sūrya Namaskāra A :

Tadāsana, Uttanāsana A, Uttanāsana B, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Ûrdhva Mukha Svanāsana, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Adhomukha Svanāsana, Uttanāsana B, Uttanāsana A, Tadāsana, Samasthitiḥ.

Salutation au soleil A

Sūrya Namaskāra B :

Tadāsana, Utkatâsana, Uttanāsana A, Uttanāsana B, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Ûrdhva Mukha Svanâsana, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Adhomukha Svanâsana, Vīrabhadrāsana A, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Ûrdhva Mukha Svanāsana, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Adhomukha Svanâsana, Vīrabhadrāsana A, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Ûrdhva Mukha Svanāsana, Chaturanga Dandāsana, Adhomukha Svanâsana, Uttanāsana B, Uttanāsana A, Utkatâsana, Samasthitiḥ.

There is therefore always a movement during which we inhale followed by one during which we exhale.

Salutation au soleil B

Benefits of practicing Sūryanamaskāra (The Sun Salutation)

Regular rhythmic practice (every day) will gradually provide you with perfect health:

  • It softens and strengthens the muscles of the body
  • It activates intestinal regulation by increasing digestive fire
  • It purifies and develops the lungs and heart

Sūryanamaskāra will help you develop willpower, stamina, mental strength; all of them are qualities that are essential to achieve the goal of Yoga. It is a meditation in action.

All yoga practitioners know the Sun Salutation

Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and other Yoga methods use the Salutation.

This is “the” Yoga technique that uses the cardiovascular system. It provides heat and considerable energy. André Van Lysebeth quickly taught the sun salutation to increase heartbeat and heat.

Sūryanamaskā, André Van Lysebeth

Sūryanamaskā, André Van Lysebeth


Other forms of salutations according to traditions

There are Buddhist or Muslim salutations, the Tibetan prostrations (“The Five Tibetans”). In India there is the Raja Aundh salutation, originating from Sivananda, which is well known in Europe thanks to André Van Lysebeth.

Finally, less known, is the Moon Salutation used in the Tantric tradition (Chandra Namaskara)

Information about Ashtanga Yoga classes

You should arrive 5 to 10 minutes before the class starts. Registration and payment is done with the teacher after the class.

All classes last an hour and a halfClasses are given throughout the year from September to July. They are progressive but it is possible to join a class at any time during the year.

The intensive mornings last three hours.

Before joining an advanced class, please contact us.

Please contact the Institute by phone or email for any general information or for details of private or prenatal classes or about starting a new class. (DO NOT COME TO THE INSTITUTE)


Some reminders about the practice of Ashtanga Yoga

  • It is essential that you arrive on time. The series starts with the warm-up.
  • You must have to practice on an empty stomach.
  • Your clothing needs to be comfortable, light and flexible. You will practise barefoot.
  • You don’t need to be supple, it is the yoga that will make you supple
  • Please turn off your phone.
  • If you have injures, are pregnant or are under medical treatment, please inform the teacher before the class.
  • Avoid wearing strong perfume.
  • Flip-flops or shoes are not allowed in the yoga studio.
  • It is not Bikram Yoga; it is preferable not to drink any water just before or during class. After class it is recommended to wait 20 to 30 minutes before drinking water
  • Be prepared to sweat !
    If you are lucky enough to sweat a lot, it is necessary to have a personal yoga towel ( Taille : 183 cm X 60 cm) to place on the mat to protect it. The towel can be washed after each practice easily … The Yoga towel has a microfiber side, which will absorb perspiration during practice and a rubber face to avoid slipping during postures of supports etc. Attention: Washing of a microfibre towel: 40 ° maximum – No dryer or dry cleaning, no bleach or softener.

Addressing and coming out of a posture in Ashtanga Yoga practice (Vinyāsa Krama)

In Ashtanga Yoga practice (Yoga Korunta), there is a precise progression, established with a lot of wisdom, in order to address a posture add also to come out of it. This is called Vinyāsa Krama.

The postures are connected one with another by mini-sequences or complete sequences from the sun salutation (Surya Namaskara).

Ashtanga Yoga_Adho Mukha Svannasana _suryanamaskara_A



In Ashtanga Yoga, the postural work and the Viniyasa have equal importance. At first, we see the postural learning with a simple chain/sequence. Once the postures are known comes the sequences/chaining teaching (the complete Viniyasa).

Srivatsa Ramaswami, old student of Shri T. Krishnamacharya

Srivatsa Ramaswami, old student of Shri T. Krishnamacharya

«Integrating the spirit, body and breathing functions . . . A yogi will know the true joy of the yoga practice . . .Vinyāsa Krama yoga strictly follows the most complete
definition of classical yoga ».

Srivatsa Ramaswami

There are two important factors.

  1. All the postures (āsana) are in an unchangeable order.
  2. As beautifully taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, there are a precise number of synchronised breathing and movement transitions that connect each position (āsana).

The process of Vinyāsa Krama produces an intense internal heat (tapas) that allows purification, and elimination of toxins in the muscles, the organs and the mind. The result is a light body that breaths profound peace, strength and joy.

Practice of Yoga mālā is a true precision work (from latin prae-cisus), in other words «without scission», without division of breathing, movement, concentration, rhythm etc. It is a work of reunification, of unification.

Focused gaze in the Yoga asana (Drishti)

In the Ashtanga yoga practice, the eyes are kept opened. In the same way, like when we drive a car, a motorbike or a bike, we look at the road in the direction where we are going, otherwise… we have an accident.

The gaze in Ashtanga Yoga is the path towards plenitude…

«Oh yogi, do not practise the āsana(s) without dhristi…»
Vāmana Ṛṣi Yoga Korunta

Drishti, is the concentration/focalisation of the gaze on a point on the body during the execution of a posture which is held during several breaths.

The benefits of Drishti in the asana practice :

  1. Develops concentration
  2. Improves the direction of the nervous flow
  3. Gives movement to the connective tissues (tissues that envelope our muscles, also called fascia)

The first verse (sloka) from Yoga Korunta mentions the 9 drishti :

  1. The tip of the nose « Nasagrai »
  2. Between the two eyes (3rd eye)   « Nétriore ma diai »
  3. The navel « Nabit chakaam staté wad chã »
  4. The middle of the hand « Hastha grai »
  5. The middle of the foot « Padãyour grai »
  6. A point situated in the horizontal right « Parsvai yur ho béyur hãpi »
  7. A point situated in the horizontal left « Parsvai yur ho béyur hãpi »
  8. The thumbs, hands together in prayer « Angusta ma diai »
  9. Look at the sky (gaze upwards) in the vertical line of the eyes « Urdhva drishti hi » 

  ” The yogi focuses his/her visual energy between the two eyebrows, with equal time in the inhale and in the exhale that go through the nose, master of his/her sensitive, mental and intellectual faculties, the Wise (noble-minded) reaching towards liberation, his/her ultime end, is separated from desire, from fear and from anger; he is freed forever.”
Bhagavad Gītā, V, 22/28

Breathing adjusted to the Ashtanga Yoga practice Ujjãyi Prãnãyãma

During the entire practice of the postural « sādhanā » in Ashtanga Yoga, we use a type of breathing called « Ujjãyi prãnãyãma », « the breath of the ocean ». There are many variations of the Ujjãyi.

The breathing (prãnãyãma) is always synchronised to the movements.

For a beginner, the inhalation and exhalation must have the same duration.

For an advanced yogi, the inhalation is a little longer.

The breathing methodology in Ashtanga Yoga :

  1. A continuous and uninterrupted flow
  2. Always breathing through the nose
  3. Opening gently the larynx region (Jālandhara)
  4. It should produce a soft sound (Ujjãyi)

Thereby the breathing sound (Ujjãyi) is obtained via the positioning of the throat (Jālandhara)

Jālandhara is the glottis control in the ujjāyī type of breathing; it is the positioning of two muscles of the thyroarytenoid laterals, which provokes the characteristic sound of the ujjāyī.

The specificity of the Ujjāyī lies in « control » partial opening of the glottis, in order to control/stop both the air coming in and their going out.


Nota :

It should not be confused with the uninterrupted breathing (Jālandhara bandha).


Abdominal control, Uḍḍiyāna

In the yoga tradition, there are several muscle positionings (Bandha).

The first control is « Mūla », the pelvic floor, the base.

The second control is « Uḍḍiyāna », the abdominal floor .

  1. At the end of the exhale, (when your lungs are completely empty)
  2. Stretch the space between the iliac crests and the ribs
  3. Stretch the transversals, the obliques (inner and outer) and the lower abdominals

Not to be confused with the position « Uḍḍiyāna bandha» that is not a breath, but a stop to the breath.

The best position to learn and deepen uḍḍiyāna & mūla bandha

This ” abdominal control ” can be experienced very easily in the posture « Adho Mukha Svānnāsana » (the dog position with the head down) in sūryanamaskara. This position is held during five deep breaths.

Together « Mūla Bandha & Uḍḍiyāna » represent a safety system that protects the body thanks to its actions on the lower body fascias (reciprocal tension of right and left fascias).

This set participates to controlling the energy in the body (Prāṇa)


Pelvic floor muscle positioning during the practice (Mūla Bandha)

In the Yoga tradition, there are several muscle positionings (Bandha).

The first control is « Mūla », the pelvic floor, the base/foundation.

  1. At the end of the exhale (when your lungs are completely empty)
  2. Lift the anal sphincter, (it is not necessary to contract it)
  3. This positioning will bring the hold/control of the lower abdomen

Whichever the posture, the Mūla bandha produces the necessary energy for a firm postural basis.

Mūla Bandha is held during the entire duration of the postural session.

In itself, It is not really difficult to master the Mūla bandha it is just a matter of attention, concentration and time.

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois considered that 5 years are needed to master it completely.

The second control is « Uḍḍiyāna », the abdominal ball. (See page)

Together « Mūla Bandha & Uḍḍiyāna » represent a safety system that protects the body thanks to its actions on the lower body fascia (reciprocal tension of right and left fascia).

This set participates to controlling the energy in the body (Prāṇa)

It is not sufficient to tighten the anus and to lift this sensation towards the centre of the abdomen, as some wrongly think, for the Mūla Bandha to be present. No, that would be too simple…

The three points in the Ashtanga Yoga practice

The key point of the « garland of postures » (Yoga Mālā), taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is called « Vinyasa ». It is described in the fourth śloka of the Yoga Korunta :

In Sankrit devanagrari :

« ट्री स्तनम् अवलोकय्é आसनम् प्राņआयाम द्रिस्थिहि »

In occidental characters :

« Trī stanam avalokayé āsanam prāņāyāma dristhihi »

That we can translate as:

The vinyāsa, the connecting movements between the postures, is composed of 3 fundamentals (Tristana) which are:

  1. The breathing (Ujjãyi Prãnãyãma – the victorious breath)
  2. The control of the pelvic floor and the abdominal ball (Mūla bandha),
  3. The focused gaze (drishti) in the postures (āsana).

Each of these spaces (positioning -Bandha) is one of components of the breathing technique called « ujjāyī prāņāmāya ».

The 3 points ashtanga yoga EN

When the three components (Tristana) are in harmony, synchronised with the movement, the sequence of Yoga postures and its rhythm, the yogi has reached the tristana. Once the tristana is reached, the yogi (le sādhaka) enters into the seventh part of the Aṣṭāṅgayoga, the meditation (dhyāna).

The ujjāyī breathing is the basis of the « Vinyasa ». The correct body positioning in the ãsana(s), comes from the Bandha(s). Drishti completes this trinity.

Invocations or chants in Ashtanga Yoga practice

According to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ teachings, this prayer expresses the wish/desire to liberate oneself from illusions (Māyā) in order to obtain the reach the Supreme knowledge (Satcitānanda). It is always recited by yogis before the Ashtanga yoga practice.

The chant at the start of the class (opening chant)

It is presented as a moment of change, an inner attitude, a rite of passage that goes from the profane time to the sacred time.

Its goal is to produce a change of direction in the senses that in the profane/secular time are turned towards the exteriority, to go towards the sacred time of the interiority in order to reach the feeling of unity with oneself.

It is a time devoted to the awakening of the inner life in the yogi’s heart.

After the agitation of the profane world, this realigning allows us to find « the immobility, the rest, the calm, the inner silence » from the Greek ἡσυχασμός (hesychasmos) « be in peace, stay silent » from the Greek ἡσυχάζω (hesychadzo). It aims at the soul’s peace/inner peace.

« God became man, so that the man could become God »
Athanasius of Alexandria (Αθανάσιος)
298 – 373

अष्गयोग मंत्रम्

वन्दे गुरूणां चरणारविन्दे
सन्दर्शित स्वात्म सुखाव बोधे ।

vande gurūṇāṁ caraṇāravinde
sandarśita svātma sukhāva bodhe |

निःश्रेयसे जङ्गलिकायमाने
संसार हालाहल मोहशांत्यै ॥

niḥ-śreyase jaṅgali-kāyamāne
saṁsāra hālāhala mohaśāṁtyai ||


आबाहु पुरुषाकारं
शंखचक्रासि धारिणम् ।

ābāhu puruṣākāraṁ
śaṁkhacakrāsi dhāriṇam |

सहस्र शिरसं श्वेतं
प्रणमामि पतञ्जलिम् ॥

sahasra śirasaṁ śvetaṁ
praṇamāmi patañjalim ||


vande gurūṇāṁ caraṇāravinde
sandarśita svātma sukhāva bodhe
niḥ-śreyase jaṅgali-kāyamāne
saṁsāra hālāhala mohaśāṁtyai

ābāhu puruṣākāraṁ
śaṁkhacakrāsi dhāriṇam
sahasra śirasaṁ śvetaṁ
praṇamāmi patañjalim

Translation in English (from Jean Claude’s French translation)

Om ()

I bow to the lotus feet of the Supreme Guru.
Who teaches the Knowledge, awakening the great happiness of one’s own self revelation.
He acts as the
 jungle physician,
capable of dispersing the illusions and the poison of a conditioned existence.

To Patañjali, Adisesa’s incarnation, of white colour, with a thousand radiant faces (under the form of divine serpent Ananta),a human form below the shoulders, holding the sword of discrimination, a wheel of fire symbolising eternity and the conch representing the divine sound.
I bow.

Granit statue prayer

Granit statue prayer

The chant at the end of the class (closing chant)

After the asana practice, it is time for the end-of-class chant in Sanskrit.
After having explored our interiority, we say good-bye to each other.
We leave with the promise of meeting again.
This chant is a way of saying thank you, of thanking the Yoga masters.
Now we reopen our self to the exteriority so that we can share our peace with the world.
Before leaving, lying down on the floor, it is time to integrate the yoga class (Savāsana position).


स्वस्तिप्रजाभ्यः परिपालयंतां
न्यायेन मार्गेण महीं महीशाः ।
svasti-prajā-bhyaḥ pari-pāla-yaṁtāṁ
nyāyena mārgeṇa mahīṁ mahīśāḥ |

गोब्राह्मणेभ्यः शुभमस्तु नित्यं
लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनोभवंतु ॥
go-brāhmaṇebhyaḥ śubham-astu nityaṁ
lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino-bhavaṁtu ||

 ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः
auṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ


Translation in English (from Jean Claude’s French translation)


May all men be protected and live in peace.
May those who lead walk on the path of justice.
May the whole world and those who search for truth, be under the Divine protection.
So everyone will have a happy existence.
Om, be in peace, go in peace, share the peace…



Om, the sacred syllable is all, what was, what is and what will be; imperishable, it is beyond the three times. » 
Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣad