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Ashtanga Yoga

History, Origin & Introduction

K.PattabhiJois was the one who created a style of yoga as exercise during the 20th century, known as the AshtangaVinyasa Yoga which is also famous as a modern-day form of Classical Indian Yoga. His teacher, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was the one who taught him this yoga. AshtangaVinyasa Yoga includes a style which is hot, energetic, synchronizing breath along with special body movements. Each of these poses or asanas are linked by vinyasas or flowing movements.

Astanga yoga is not for everyone. It’s only for those people who are extremely fit and like to practice challenging and highly structured poses. The trainers generally predefine the sequences according to your personal level. These poses are performed on a constant flow and own comfortable pace. Still now Ashtanga Yoga is one of the most popular styles of yoga practiced world-wide which as introduced back in 1975 by K.Pattabhi involving specific sequences of Ashtanga Yoga postures. These are done on a uniform and continuous ,flowing and fast-paced basis. While practicing this kind of yoga , the practitioners or the Ashtangisshift swiftly from one pose to another timed with proper inhale and eexhale.

Speciality of Ashtanga-Vinyasa Yoga

Unlike other forms of yoga Ashtanga Yoga has it’s own order of asanas which are completely predefined. This is the main reason of difference from most other type of yoga. While practising AshtangaVinyasa Yoga, you will have to follow 4 different sequences namely, Opening series, a main series, a back bending series and finally the finishing series.

The opening sequence starts by performing 10 sun salutations with several standing asanas. Based on your skills and experience, you can perform maximum of six different kinds of main sequences which the yogi will choose. On the other hand, it’s not very important that you must learn every series quickly. Ashtanga Yoga mainly aims at internal focus throughout the practice. So, it’s very important that you practice daily or regularly in order to gain something from it.

Mostly, people prefer Ashtanga Yoga more because they are being taught and practiced in Mysore style which implies that students are allowed to progress and move to the next level on their own pace whichever is comfortable. Thus, during a practice session the instructor will supervise and look after all the students personally as they progress through the sequences gradually by themselves. As soon as the student get the perfect sequence , he or she is allowed to practice all alone.

Who should do Ashtanga Yoga?

It is recommended to those people to perform Ashtanga Yoga who are a fast-learner and prefer fast-paced and rigorous styles of yogic practice. In case of Ashtanga Yoga, you need not have to be the quickest yet, you must be very consistent and simultaneous to do the poses one after the other which is the actual challenge rather than regular practice of yoga. From the very beginning you would need a very fit and strong body with strong arms and core strength , which is achieved through multiple vinyasas. If you are a 1st timer , and have not been physically active lately, Ashtanga Yoga might not be the one for you to practice. Those who just want to take up and practice yoga just for concentration, meditation and spiritual purposes , should go for Ananda Yoga. On the other hand people thinking of taking up the actual challenge which needs good coordination as well as a bit more strength and are aware of their physical limits can definitely practice Ashtanga Yoga.

Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga

  1. It increases the focus and sense for your body.
  2. Ashtanga Yoga acts as a cardio workout and can effectively increase one’s heart rate.
  3. It acts as a stress reliever and fat-burner.
  4. It increases physical strength like toned and strengthened muscles and increased flexibility.
  5. It also increases one’s body- rigidity.

Must-Know facts about Ashtanga Yoga

It is highly non-recommendable for you to practice Ashtanga Yoga as your first style of Yoga. This is because many people who are not physically actively lately fail to keep up with the swift movements of postures without prior knowledge and experience and end up fatigued and damaging tissues of their bodies. It is suggestable to practice an easier and slow-pace form of yoga first and get accustomed and then gradually shift to Ashtanga Yoga, in case you are a neophyte.

8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga

Since the Ashtanga Yoga is believed to have 8 limbs or requirements to achieve self-realization, they are practiced haphazardly. But on the other hand all of them are developed together as one progresses on the spiritual path.

The limbs are :-

  1. YAMA
  2. NIYAMA
  3. ASANA
  4. PRANAYAMA
  5. DHARANA
  6. DHYANA
  7. SAMADHI