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Ashtanga yoga is a vigorous form of yoga that utilises both the breath and a series of poses to improve the body and the mind. The aerobic workout removes impurities from the system and strengthens the circulatory system.
As some Asanas can be very advanced, it is important that the student works their way up from a beginner level so as to avoid injury. The yoga teacher will always work within your abilities.
Within Ashtanga, the length of the inhaling breath should be the same as the length of the exhaling breath. By synchronizing the breathing and movement in the poses, the blood is heated, thereby cleaning and thinning it, allowing it to flow better throughout the body. The improved circulation then removes toxins and disease and relieves pain in the joints. The sweat then carries the impurities from the body.
The “Tristhana” is the union of the posture, breathing system and looking place. These cover the body, nervous system and the mind and they are always performed together.
The “Dristhi” is the point that a person focuses on when practicing their Asanas. There are nine points – the nose, between the eyebrows, the navel, the thumbs, the hands, the feet, up (the direction) and the right and left sides of the body. The Dristhi or looking place helps to stabilize the mind.
It is vital that the Bandhas are controlled fully otherwise breathing will be incorrect and there will be no benefit from the poses.
Imagine doing downward dog while a kitten paws at your feet. That’s the idea behind kitten yoga.
Start warming up and practice those poses, because Wednesday 21 June is the International Day of Yoga!
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Yoga is an ancient form of practice based on a harmonising system that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing.