What is Ashtanga Yoga

What is Ashtanga Yoga? Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic, athletic style of hatha yoga that follows a series of six levels with a fixed order of postures. It uses vinyasa, a powerful flow between postures that emphasizes energy. The physical aspect of this practice also promotes mental clarity and inner peace.


Ashtanga Yoga is simply Ashta + Anga in Sanskrit. It’s literally meant as:

  • “Ashta” means “eight”, ” 8 “
  • “anga” means “limb”, “part of the body”

Astanga is the union of yoga’s eight limbs into one holistic system. These eight limbs of yoga are the basic philosophy of the yoga sutras that form the foundation for Ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga is based on Patanjali’s Yoga Philosophy or Ashtanga Philosophy. This Philosophy was explained by sage Patanjali that’s why it calls as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra or philosophy. Ashtanga Philosophy is a complete system of eight limbs, which include the following:

  1. Yama (moral codes),
  2. Niyama (self-discipline),
  3. Asana (yoga postures),
  4. Pranayama (breath control),
  5. Pratyahara (sense withdrawal),
  6. Dharana (concentration),
  7. Dhyana (meditation),
  8. Samadhi (oneness with the self).

History of Ashtanga Yoga

The history of Ashtanga Yoga was started with Yoga. According to Vedic Philosophy and Tantras, Yoga dates back to about 5000 BC. A great sage named Patanjali composed this path into Patanjali Yoga Sutra, a book that is called a Darshan (philosophy). According to him, Yoga is a path based on the Eight Limbs or Eightfold. These eight limbs we discussed in the above section. All the asanas, pranayamas, or dharanas that we have studied so far, as well as the yam and niyam, come from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Therefore, we will first acquaint ourselves with the fundamentals stated by him. Traditionally, Ashtanga Yoga was taught one-to-one, so that the teacher could “prescribe” a sequence for the student based on their individual needs. Having a one-to-one yoga teacher with you every single day would be great.

Someone to keep an eye on your form, remind you to breathe, and motivate you when you need it. well, this is Mysore-Style Ashtanga Yoga! – It’s kind of like one-to-one yoga but in a group setting. The Ashtanga approach offers a highly structured approach to asana practice. No matter what your needs are, you’ll always have a way of knowing when you’re improving. By practicing regularly, you will gain flexibility, strength, and focus, and it can also improve your mental state, resulting in increased clarity and focus.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Ancient sage Patanjali defined yoga as “restraining of thoughts”. He compiles “Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras”, which describes an eight-limbed method to attain health and happiness by purification of body, mind, and soul. Ashtanga Yoga, which is an eight-limb approach, is not meant to be mistaken for a step-by-step practice but rather a multidimensional approach in which all eight limbs are practiced simultaneously.

Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga offers many benefits. Since it is strenuous, it is great for athletes and people who want a good workout. In Ashtanga yoga, you focus on breath, poses, and meditation. Regular yoga practice improves flexibility, breathing, and balance. Ashtanga yoga benefits are not limited to physical factors. It boosts mental clarity, creates mental calmness, and helps develop better concentration in everyday life. So, here are some benefits of practicing Ashtanga yoga are as follows:

  • increase your stamina
  • improves bone density
  • increase strength
  • control your body weight
  • lowers your blood pressure
  • increase muscles tone
  • improve cardiovascular fitness
  • relieve stress and anxiety
  • prevent injuries
  • increase focus and creativity

The Ashtanga form of yoga has been popular in the Western world since the late 1990s. Ashtanga features a vigorous physical practice that combines poses with breath to form a continuous flow. According to its most traditional form, Ashtanga yoga involves very long sequences of postures interspersed with vinyasa breathing exercises. This practice requires a tremendous amount of physical strength, flexibility, and endurance, which is why so many people think of it as an intense workout. It’s always a good idea to keep your mind and body healthy and strong by adding Ashtanga yoga to your daily workout, no matter whether you’re just getting started in yoga or looking for something new.

What is the ultimate goal of Ashtanga?

The ultimate goal of Ashtanga is to focus on cultivating mental clarity, mindful breathing, physical strength, flexibility, and endurance through the practice of intense physical processes. The structure and frequency of the practice are designed to help you immediately improve your body and overall health. The postures provide a strong framework that enables you to focus on the inner limbs of the sutras.

Can Beginners do Ashtanga Yoga?

Yes. Ashtanga Yoga can be done by beginners. Ashtanga Vinyasa is suitable for everyone! If you practice with the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher, they can offer advice on how to modify the sequence to suit your personal needs. The external appearance of the postures is not important, as the practice emphasizes internal awareness and the breath. Through regular practice, your body will become stronger and more flexible, and you will increase your proficiency with the sequence. In addition, the primary sequences start with the kinds of movements and pose that is best suited for beginners. These are known as Yoga Chikitsa or Yoga Therapy. The purpose of this class is to teach you the basics and prepare your body for more challenging series. Mysore-style classes emphasize individual instruction, which is great to know when you’re doing your asanas correctly.

What is the difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga?

Both are the foam of yoga still the difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga are as follows:

  • Ashtanga Yoga is a set sequence of asanas, whereas Vinyasa Yoga is more free-form and improvised.
  • Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga is a dynamic yoga practice synchronizing breath and movement. In vinyasa yoga it creates a different sequence each time, often there is a focus on strengthening or opening a specific area of the body.
  • Ashtanga classes begin and end with the class chanting Sanskrit mantras, whereas Vinyasa classes are more commonly found in workout studios and gyms with play music during the practice.

Is Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga suitable for beginners?

Yes. the Mysore style is especially good for beginners because, instead of trying to keep up with other practitioners in a led class (who may have been practicing for years), in a Mysore-style class, you can move at your speed. Ashtanga yoga class sequence is as follows :

  • On the first day of class, you might only learn the basics of breathing techniques and sun salutations.
  • In the next few days, you may repeat this same routine until you memorize it completely. The next day, they might teach you some standing postures after your sun salutations.

There are usually prints of the complete Primary Series available in most studios so you can glance at them if you forget the order. As you develop strength and flexibility, your teacher will give you more and more postures

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