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What is Ashtanga Yoga?


Ashtanga Yoga

All About Ashtanga Yoga

One of the most common kinds of yoga practiced today is Ashtanga Yoga. Have you heard of it? If not, don’t worry, as this article will cover everything that is significant about Ashtanga Yoga and function.

History of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga was first expounded upon and used in healing by Sri K Pattabhi Jois, who was a teacher and practitioner of Ashtanga yoga.Ashtanga Yoga was furthered developed by this instructor and others but got its initial popularity in this country the middle part of the last century.

Dating back to its earlier beginnings in the far east, Ashtanga yoga actually means “eight limbed yoga”-a term coined by ancient practitioner, Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutras. These eight limbs-says Patanjali-are “spiritual practices” that must be adhered to if a person is to reach any kind of “internal purification”, and subsequent, enlightenment. The eight limbs are as follows: yama (moral codes), asana (posture), niyama (self purification), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense control), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (contemplation).

What is Ashtanga Yoga

Basically, Ashtanga yoga is a means of using breath and movement to improve circulation in the body, strength, and a peaceful mind. Ashtanga is focused on breath and movement in a manner that is intense and not easy at first-but through its exercise and correct form, a person using the poses can detoxify their bodies and minds-and feel renewed and refreshed. Ashtanga Yoga is a vigorous, athletic style of practice. It will appeal to those who like structure and independence.

This said, there are a number of programs within an Ashtanga yoga class, that a person must be able to move through prior to internally cleansing oneself, and reaching that holistic alignment, balance, and peace. The first series is called the “primary series” which “detoxifies and aligns the body”. The “intermediate series” works on the purification of the “nervous system by opening and clearing the energy channels”. The “advanced series A, B, and C” focus on “the strength and grace of the practice” for “higher levels of flexibility and humility”. One series cannot be left without a full mastering of its virtues through proper form, posture, and breathing; as the next series depends on the lessons learned in the previous series.

As is true with all yoga forms, Ashtanga yoga also requires a strict attention to the breath-ensuring that the inhalations and exhalations are deep-coming from the diaphragm; and being as long as possible. This deep breathing should, with time, get longer and longer to help extend poses and balance with accelerated Ashtanga abilities. The whole aspect of breathing is the basis for being able to harmonize with the body in a way that uses breath to strengthen and align its bodily parts with the mind.

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