Contributing Author: Anshu Verma
Ashtanga, sometimes referred to as “Astanga yoga” is one of the most polarizing yoga practices in the world. Some of the people who attend an Ashtanga yoga class fall in love with it and keep going back. Others swear off it forever.
What is Ashtanga Yoga?
Ashtanga yoga is a form of yoga that was developed by Pattabhi K. Jois – a yoga teacher of Indian descent. This form of yoga focuses on developing mental and physical strength.
According to the founder, the main purpose of the practice was to purify the body and the mind and also help people build their core body strength. This is accomplished by performing a series of body movements and postures combined with prescribed breathing patterns. The postures range from sitting to standing positions.
If you’re looking for a cardio workout without the hustle and bustle of a gym you should consider giving Ashtanga yoga a try.
When you first immerse yourself in Ashtanga yoga you start with the Surya Namaskar – a sequence of graceful poses that help your body to stretch and become flexible. Afterwards, you proceed to six other standing poses. Each of the six poses involves several other poses which must also be performed.
This is the intermediate series. Finally Ashtanga ends with the advanced series that comprises of four pose variations.
Ashtanga is considered to be the most “intense” of all forms of yoga. If you are a beginner the practice can be quite difficult. You may be required to change your diet to cope. Consuming more vegetables – in particular leafy greens – has been proven to be very beneficial.
Benefits of Ashtanga
Apart from purification and strengthening of the core, Ashtanga is a powerful coordination tool that will help you improve your focus and balance. The intense poses accompanied with the synchronized breathing exercises enhance your sensory awareness and your feel of the flow of your body. This instills in you good coordination.
– Emotional Benefits
This practice of yoga emphasizes emotional strength and flexibility. According to the yoga gurus, substantial human suffering is caused by poor control of emotions such as heartbreak. In many cases this greatly affects the body.
Ashtanga helps by teaching people how to balance their emotions so as to lead a happy and fruitful life.
– Spiritual Benefits
Ashtanga yoga requires one to follow a specific sequence of postures and breathing patterns that benefit not only the physical but the spiritual aspect as well. The practice teaches Ashtangis how to relate to the world around them, cleanse their minds and achieve clarity. By focusing on your postures and ensuring you are breathing properly you will be able to gain a better understanding of yourself and learn how to tap into your limitless potential.
Is Ashtanga for you?
If you enjoy a good challenge and would like to improve your body and enhance your mind then you should definitely try Ashtanga yoga.
Though the sequence is the same day in- day out it, depending on your dedication it can take years for you to advance to the next level.
On the flip-side, if you have brittle joints or sensitive muscles Ashtanga is definitely not for you. You’re better off starting with the slower paced “Hatha” yoga and working your way up.
Author Bio: Anshu is the founder of Yolig.com, where she and her associates’ blog about the Yoga and Health that will help you get healthier and have a good lifestyle. Yolig.com is concentrated on the tips on how to practice yoga effectively and how to have a better and healthier lifestyle. She is also a Yoga Master for more than 7 years with professional teaching skills and excellent knowledge about Yoga.