Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga

What is ashtanga yoga?

Ashtanga yoga is a form of yoga that synchronizes breath and a series of poses to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body and improve the body and the mind. This yoga form helps remove impurities from the body and helps strengthen the circulatory system. It is also excellent for building core strength and toning the body.

What is Ashtanga Yoga & What are Asanas?

Ashtanga yoga was developed by Indian yoga teacher K. Pattabhi Jois in 1948. The word “Ashtanga” means eight limbs which refers to the eight limbs of classical yoga. The eight limbs are: 

  • moral codes (“Yama”)
  • self-purification and study (“Niyama”)
  • posture (“Asana”)
  • breath control (“pranayama”)
  • sense control (“Pratyahara”)
  • concentration (“Dharana”)
  • meditation (“Dhyana”)
  • contemplation (“Samadhi”)

Ashtanga yoga is primarily concerned with “Asana.” Asanas are a set of poses that the students perform. The series of movements performed is vigorous making this class very aerobic. Asanas are designed to produce heat within the body to create a purifying sweat. Then, this sweat removes the impurities from the organs and muscles, therefore, creating a healing atmosphere within the body.

Ashtanga yoga benefits

Ashtanga yoga has several health benefits which include:

  • Improve flexibility
  • Increase strength
  • Increase muscle tone
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness
  • Improve core endurance
  • Build inner strength
  • Promote strong and healthy back
  • Reduce body fat
  • Reduce anxiety and stress 
  • Learn to breathe
  • Increase focus and creativity
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Prevents hypertension
  • Prevent injuries

How to do ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga yoga emphasizes certain main components, namely “Vinyasa,” “Tristhana,” and “Dristhi.”

“Vinyasa” is the flowing sequence of movements that connect each asana to the next. In addition, it coordinates the breath with the transition of vinyasa movements between asanas.

“Tristhana” is the union of breathing system, posture, and looking place. These cover the body, the mind, and the nervous system and they are always performed together.

“Dristhi” is the point that students focus on when practicing their Asanas. Also known as looking place, The Drishti helps to stabilize the mind. There are nine points:

  1. the nose
  2. between the eyebrows
  3. the navel
  4. the thumbs
  5. the hands
  6. the feet
  7. up (the direction)
  8. the right side of the body
  9. the left side of the body

Different ashtanga asana pose

The Ashtanga Yoga comprises a set sequence of yoga poses that range from forwarding fold to backbends, twists, and inversions. The following are some Ashtanga Yoga postures that can be tried.

  • Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
  • Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangustasana)
  • Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)
  • Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
  • Warrior Pose I (Virabhadrasana I)
  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana):
  • Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
  • Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
  • Shoulder Stand Pose (Sarvangasana)
  • Corpse Pose (Savasana)