Jois’s ashtanga yoga consists of three series of asanas, linked by surya namaskar-based vinyasas (transitions), performed in a counted breath sequence. Jois trained and taught at the Sanskrit school, where Krishnamacharya developed a practice suitable for larger groups of active young men like him.
Iyengar, who experienced the more personal training of the yogasala, took a different approach, discarding counted breaths and insisting on very precise asanas, each held for longer periods of time.
Orthodox yet modern
Krishnamacharya was steeped in spiritual yoga and Hindu philosophy. He was keen to give his method the authority of the ancient texts, in particular Patanjali’s Yogasutras. The Indologist Norman Sjoman, who spent some time in Mysore, noted that the palace library contained several old manuscripts about indigenous practices, including hatha yoga, which Krishnamacharya would have studied.
Krishnamacharya was selective in his use of the ancient texts, rejecting some aspects of hatha yoga where they differed from the Yogasutras, because “the main source for yoga Patanjali Darsara (Yogasutras) does not include them… it is gravely disappointing that they defile the name of yoga”. (Singleton)