ashtanga yoga

What is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, also known as Mysore yoga, is one of the most popular styles of yoga known all over the world today.

The primary objective of ashtanga vinyasa yoga is to combine asanas with the energetic flow and rhythmic breathing to give the practitioner the benefit of a fit body and a healthy mind. It is a little different from the ancient form of yoga illustrated by Patanjali. This style of yoga based on yoga poses and body movements was founded in the 20th century by K. Pattabhi Jois.

Pattabhi Jois dedicated his life to sharing the tradition of ashtanga yoga. This style of yoga consists of six series. It is widely known as the modern-day form of classical Indian yoga and has its origin from Mysore where K. Pattabhi Jois established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute.

How to practice Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?

Practicing this yoga form requires you to memorize a sequence of poses, movements and breathing patterns. While the practice is generally taught in a group, once you master the art, you can do it all by yourself. 

To practice this form of yoga, you have to understand the various sequences and series in the process. So, what are these sequences and series? Let’s find out.

To begin the Ashtanga yoga practice, practitioners need to do five repetitions of Surya Namaskara A (sun salutation) and five repetitions of Surya Namaskara B.  this gets followed by a standing sequence. After this, the practitioner goes through one of six series which is then followed by a standard closing sequence.

woman in yoga pose

The six series are:

  • The Primary series: Yoga Chikitsa, Yoga for Health or Yoga Therapy [8]
  • The Intermediate series: Nadi Shodhana, The Nerve Purifier (also called the Second series)
  • The Advanced series: Sthira Bhaga, Centering of Strength
  • Advanced A, or Third series
  • Advanced B, or Fourth series
  • Advanced C, or Fifth series
  • Advanced D, or Sixth series

Principles of Ashtanga vinyasa yoga

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga stresses on two main segments – tristhana and vinyasa.

Tristhana

Tristhana refers to breathing system (pranayama), posture (asana), and looking place (drishti). These are the focus concepts for ashtanga yoga.

Vinyasa

Vinyasas refer to the flowing sequences of movements connecting each asana with the next.

Benefits of Ashtanga vinyasa yoga

1. Development in Core Endurance:

Practicing Ashtanga Yoga regularly can improve core endurance and cure any ailments related to it.

2. Enhances flexibility:

When practiced regularly, this yoga can increase your flexibility and make your spine stronger.

3. Helps get rid of body fat:

Reduce body fat and get a well-toned body with Ashtanga Yoga. The movement of arms and stomach results in fat loss more these areas. 

4. Brings relief from stress

After a session of Ashtanga Yoga, you will find that your mind is relaxed and peaceful. This helps in relieving stress and making you happier.

5. Healthy Back

It helps you tone up your lower abdominal muscles and get relief from backaches. This is the best exercise to get a healthy back.

Conclusion

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is a powerful yogic practice. When done under the guidance of a trained professional, it can bring health benefits. However, you need to make sure if this yoga is right for you. Consult a doctor or medical professional before starting this yogic practice.

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