About Ashtanga Yoga

A clean energy investment executive by profession, Scott Brittenham enjoys practicing yoga in his free time. Scott Brittenham names ashtanga yoga as his favorite form.

Introduced to the contemporary world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, ashtanga yoga comes originally from the writings of sage Vama Rishi in the ancient manuscript Yoga Korunta. Literally translated as “eight-limbed yoga,” it involves the control of the body and mind in eight distinct practices. The first four prompt external cleansing in the form of breath control, posture, self-knowledge, and moral code development.

Two of these four practices, yama (moral codes) and niyama (self-study and purification) define the practice of ashtanga yoga, yet they require strength of the body as developed by asana (posture) work. The internal cleansing practices, known as vinyasa, also play an essential role in the correct practice of ashtanga yoga. Breath and movement coordinate in very specific synchronization; each movement involves one breath. This connection warms the blood and allows for better circulation, which in turn purifies the blood, while also prompting a sweat that cleanses the body as a whole.


Practicing Ashtanga Yoga

Based in Tucson, Arizona, Scott Brittenham serves as the president and CEO of Clean Energy Capital, LLC, which he also co-founded. As an investor with more than 30 years of experience in the field, Mr. Brittenham offers his talents to the company through the evaluation, structuring, and execution of major financial transactions. When he is not focused on his career, Scott Brittenham enjoys a variety of hobbies and interests that include practicing ashtanga yoga, a specific style of yoga steeped in ancient tradition.

Ashtanga was introduced to the West by Sri Pattabhi Jois, who taught it for decades until his death in 2009. Ashtanga yoga, which translates to mean “eight-limbed yoga,” is performed in conjunction with eight practices of spiritual cleansing, half of which are internally cleansing. The other half are externally cleansing. The ashtanga system incorporates control over the body with control over the mind.

Vinyasa and tristhana are two performance techniques employed in ashtanga yoga. Vinyasa refers to the system of coordinating breathing and movement, while tristhana references three places of attention: posture, breathing, and a place to look while performing poses, which coordinate with the yoga style’s three levels of purification that include the body, nervous system and mind. Asana refers to posture, whereby the body is aligned and detoxified, while ujjayi is the breathing technique employed during ashtanga yoga. Dristhl refers to the place to look, meaning a person finds a spot to gaze at and focus on during asanas.