What is Ashtanga Yoga?

Ashtanga YogaAshtanga yoga is both a philosophy and practice. It helps individuals boost their spiritual and psychological wellbeing. It has been practiced for several years in various parts of the globe. The practice has retained its traditions over the years but it has embraced individual needs and changing times.

This yoga variation is not limited to a specific political or religious group. Ashtanga unites you with the life-force that is present in every being. This practice is quite intense and it involves doing poses in a particular sequence every time.  Read More

Establishment and Practice

Ashtanga yoga was established in India. It involves various aspects including:

  • Asana (poses)
  • Bandhas (Internal energetic locks)
  • Drishti (Gazing point)
  • Ujjayi pranayama (Breath control)

This yoga variation combines focused consciousness, movement, and breath to create heat, referred to as tapas. The heat is used to purify a participant’s sense of perception. Once your sense of perception is purified, you become selective about how you feed the senses. Practicing Ashtanga will lead you to your spirit and nature.

Teaching Options

Ashtanga can either be taught in led classes (vinyasa) or using the self led approach where each participant goes through the series of activities individually depending on their pace while the instructor supervises. This yoga practice is experimental. Each experience is unique and every participant gets unique lessons. Yoga is more than a physical practice. It offers a way for individuals to incorporate their spirit, mind, and body. This practice goes beyond your individual limitations. Its main objective is to help you comprehend your true nature.

Ashtanga Yoga Limbs

This practice has eight limbs including yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi. The initial four limbs cleanse your external. Yogis believe that it is possible to correct defects in your external practices. The next four limbs cleanse the internal.

Reference:  What is the best Yoga Style for You.

Yama focuses on moral restraints and teaches you how to interact with those around you. Niyama is about observances and it highlights how individuals relate with themselves. Asana emphasizes on posture to teach you the best way to relate with your body. Pranayama is all about breath extension and it places emphasis on how participants interact with their spirit, also referred to as breath.

Pratyahara focuses on sensory withdrawal and it highlights the way we relate with the various sense organs. Dharana is about concentration and this limb highlights how participants relate with their mind. Dhyana or meditation teaches individuals to move beyond their mind. Samadhi or meditative absorption is when yoga practitioners attain internal union and deep realization.

Ashtanga yoga is one of the most popular options for anyone who wants to explore this ancient practice. There are several loyal followers of this variation in different parts of the world. It is quite vigorous and athletic and is a great choice for individuals who prefer order because of the sequence of poses participants engage in. This form of yoga also works well for people who prefer to do things in their own way. You can choose to take a led or self led Ashtanga yoga class.

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