This form of yoga is a powerful aerobic and cardiovascular regime suited to everyone of moderate fitness, as well as those who are very active and involved in sports. Many international athletes and sports stars practice ashtanga.
It is believed to be an ancient traditional practice which was brought to the West in the 70s and 80s by student-teachers of the great Sri Pattabhis Jois (pictured below). It spread throughout the Western world and was adopted by personalities such as Sting and Madonna, who helped to spread it's popularity.
The practice incorporates 'surya namaskaras' (sun salutations) and 'vinyasas' (flowing connections between postures) which keep the whole practice fluid and moving. This soon warms the body from the inside out and results in an extremely effective work-out for the whole body.
Even those who consider themselves very fit can find ashtanga tough, because it reaches parts their regular activities do not reach. However, they soon feel the benefits as the practice enhances their physical prowess.
It is generally advisable for those who have never practised before to attend a beginners class for a while, so that they can learn, and get used to, the routine.
"Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory." Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois