A modern-day yogi is a surefire overwhelmed with the various styles and training alternatives today. It seems like though yoga has become a buzz term, a type of workout centered on physical and mental relaxation, mindfulness, muscle power, flexibility, and self-discovery.
Even so, there are multiple styles of yoga, and each one covers a distinct quality, yet these asanas may generally be alike. Among the techniques of yoga that are over-hyped today, Ashtanga Yoga is recognized to be the most rigorous that it requires enough of discipline, determination, and strength.
- The Classic History of Ashtanga Yoga
- 5 Must-Know Reasons Why Ashtanga Is Perfect For Beginners
- The Amazing Physical & Mental Health Benefits Of Ashtanga Yoga
The Classic History of Ashtanga Yoga
While the term Ashtanga Yoga derived in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, it was known because of these two Indian yoga instructors from the 21st century, namely Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois. They began to unravel the Ashtanga Yoga we all know and love today. They were from Mysore, a city in Southern India located in the state of Karnataka.
Pattabhi Jois was an aspirant of Krishnamacharya, who is recognized to be the grandfather of modern-day yoga. Jois was among the others whom Krishnamacharya taught a sequence of asanas that were transformed to suit everyone but broadly followed the very same routine.
Each student would perform their yoga routine every day at their own pace but under their teacher’s overseeing. Krishnamacharya then introduces them to more rigorous asanas as they developed in strength, endurance, and flexibility.
In time, their routine would be modified for an entirely new one with even more new asanas!
This was the ideal way to learn yoga – not in a group class where everyone performs the same routine – in an individual and personalized way. Students are trained to always move at their own pace, and the teacher would be there to support and guide when needed.
Pattabhi Jois thrived his teaching methods and began to sort out the names of different routines like Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, Advanced B series, and so on.
Initially, you would undertake the Primary Series of Ashtanga yoga first, and then when Jois thinks you’re good to go, he will then teach you the next series until the whole series is finished.
What Is Ashtanga Yoga?
If you are new with Ashtanga, it’s not difficult to overlook this ancient practice. However, even if you are willing to undergo one of the other styles you may be accustomed to, it’s a worthwhile endeavor for any yoga of all sizes and ages to give Ashtanga a whirl.
Students tend to get on their yoga mats and practice for many reasons. Many classes covers and are focused on students getting a superb therapeutic workout. Ashtanga yoga offers yogis just that, as it is known for its swift pacing and stimulating poses.
During an Ashtanga class, students undertake a series of asanas with swifter transitions and shorter holds than any yoga classes.
If you’d like a contrast, Ashtanga takes after Vinyasa. Nevertheless, an Ashtanga series of poses is the same every time, while Vinyasa flows depend on each class and is a more freestyle practice.
Moreover, Ashtanga incorporates aspects of classical yoga that are sometimes disregarded in a Vinyasa class, such as Ujyagi breathing and chanting. You will undertake much more than just a full physical exercise when you perform an Ashtanga yoga practice.
Ashtanga & Its Series Of Poses
The first step or the primary series is described in “Yoga Mala.” The primary series is called Yoga Chikitsa, which also stands for yoga therapy. Its goal is to realign the spine, detoxify the body, and build muscle power, flexibility, and stamina.
This series is composed of over seventy-five poses that usually take an hour and a half to two hours to finish. It starts with sun salutations and moves on to standing, seated, inverting asanas, and backbends before meditation.
The second or the intermediate series or also known as Nadi Shodana, stands for nervous system purification. It purifies and strengthens the nervous system and the elusive energy channels throughout the body.
This series is only launched when the student has grasped and mastered the primary series. It follows the same development as the primary series but inaugurates new poses and variations.
The remaining four advanced series are called Sthira Bhaga, which stands for divine stability. Pattabhi Jois uniquely outlines two intensive-yet-ultra-therapeutic advanced series, but later broken down into four series to make them more achievable.
These particular series centers at challenging arm balances and are only fit for seasoned and advanced students. There are only a few students practicing beyond the second series.
Inside An Ashtanga Classes
Many yoga studios across the alley offer led Ashtanga classes, meaning a teacher directs or guides the class and delegates students in the order of asanas, usually in the primary and secondary series.
Students may often opt for self-taught, or Mysore type of practice. This is an opportunity to perform at their own pace and level of capability but in the company of other students and ultimately with the teacher’s guidance as needed.
In a Mysore method, the student tends to master each pose in sequence and is introduced to new asanas to work on by their teachers when they become ready. That said, Ashtanga yoga can be an ideal foundation at home for students once they master the routine of poses.
5 Must-Know Reasons Why Ashtanga Is Perfect For Beginners
There are so many inspirational contents out there from trained Ashtanga yoga practitioner, which is marvelous. However, most of the time, there’s this misconception that you must first undertake an advanced practice before even starting to learn Ashtanga yoga.
Let me address this to you: it’s reasonably not the case at all, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you left out on such a therapeutic practice because of this misbelief. I’m here to testify that Ashtanga is perfect for beginners, and here’s to why!
1. Ashtanga Yoga Is Self-Practice
The ideal way of learning Ashtanga yoga is the Mysore method classes, where everybody performs at their own pace. The teacher doesn’t delegate the class but roams around to oversee and support students when need. I like to call it “supported self-practice.”
What do you do when the teacher isn’t guiding the class? The answer is, learn the routine off-by-heart. The first time you go to a studio, the teacher will teach you the breathing technique and how to perform the sun salutations and do it a few times, at your own pace.
2. You Move At Your Own Pace
Think about how fitting this is for beginners of all levels: you can move as swifter or as leisurely as possible. The pressure isn’t a thing here, and you don’t have to keep up with co-students and can freely do breathing techniques as many as you need.
At the end of your first class, when you come back, your teacher will teach you a new set of asanas to add to the end of your routine. It will only be a short sequence, and you’d still practice the same method every time you come back to class. So, it’s totally not difficult to commit to the sequence to absorb.
3. Individual Support From Your Teacher
In a guided Ashtanga yoga class, the teacher is generally so stuck on giving instructions that they undoubtedly can’t help everyone else at the same time.
But in a Mysore method, the teacher doesn’t delegate the class, so they have plenty of time to offer guidance. And because everyone is taking on different asanas at different times, the teacher can abundantly assist students at the time in their execution when they need it the most.
Moreover, you’ll get much more individual support and useful feedback in a Mysore method, Ashtanga yoga class, than a guided type, which is perfect for beginners who just began their yoga journey. In other words, you can progress with confidence that you have executed the basics.
4. Modifiable Postures
There are lots of modifications for every posture in the series available. So if your body is somewhat can’t fine-tune for the full version of an asana, your teacher will introduce you to a variation that will work for the same muscle and is more accessible.
As you perform the same routine every day, your body will slowly adapt, making your practice more substantial and sustainable because it will develop with you as you build your endurance at your own pace.
5. All Routines Are Progressive
The first set of asanas you will learn as a beginner is from the Primary series or the yoga mala. The routines are progressive, so each pose assembles your body for the ones that follow. Take note that your teacher will only allow you to perform new asanas into your practice once you already mastered the existing sequence.
The Amazing Physical & Mental Health Benefits Of Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga asanas can offer various amazing physical benefits by engaging all areas of the body. Enhancing flexibility and building muscle power is just the beginning. By integrating a substantial breathing flow into your practice, you can also improve your cardiovascular strength and stabilizing your blood pressure.
Ashtanga yoga can be a bit strict. While this might be domineering at first, it can be highly gratifying to adapt yourself to the routine. An improved muscle will probably be the first benefit you’ll notice from Ashtanga, as many of the poses cover a challenging execution using arm strength to maintain balance.
These asanas highlight your upper body and your core as they must be utilized when maintaining and holding these postures.
Increased flexibility is another superb advantage. By taking your body in these challenging poses, you are also encouraging your body to extend in new ways. Yoga boosts the body’s flexibility, but Ashtanga is uniquely captivating.
With each class offering a physically demanding period at least several times a week, you’ll see your flexibility revamped in weeks.
Breathing plays a crucial role in yoga– it’s the sparkler between the physical and mental needs being met in a class. Having robust breathing techniques offer you a sure path to meditation, and also fuels your body with enough oxygen needed to execute each pose.
During an execution, your lungs are continually working to provide a vigorous breathing technique, and this makes yoga an excellent cardiovascular exercise.
By improving a steady breathing flow, you prepare your body to pump blood to all passages efficiently. This has many health benefits, like improving your heart’s action, reinforcing blood vessels, and stabilizing blood pressure.
These are essential elements of our health that we might not think unless our healthcare provider has already addressed them for the betterment of yourself. Integrating yoga into your daily life is an excellent way to improve and maintain your overall health uniquely.
It might not be as clear to perceive improvement with your mental health, but this is another amazing benefit of Ashtanga Yoga. Once you have gripped the routine of postures engaged in your Ashtanga class and have learned how your body feels in every pose, you can begin to focus on the practice’s mental factors.
This is when you accurately start to look inward and discover the mental benefits.
Once you set out to attend an Ashtanga yoga class, know that you’ll need mental fortitude. The discipline, attention, patience, and determination built in the class will help you detoxify your Ashtanga practice and also help improve areas of your daily life.
Meditation is the gesture of transforming your mind steadily. By detaching yourself from the external forces surrounding you, you can focus on yourself. In meditation, you can build many excellent mental skills, from managing the inevitable stress and anxiety and improving decision-making capabilities.
How we generally dash through our preoccupied lives does not allow for enough time to contemplate and focus on ourselves.
Ashtanga yoga is a special place for you to give some time for reflection into your life. The daily stress and anxiety are factors that influence our lives more than we know.
If you let stress and anxiety take over you, they can have a widespread influence on your mental and physical health. Whether they prohibit your ability to operate within your own life regularly or negatively affect those around you, the relationship we have with stress and anxiety is something we should not foster and spend more time understanding.
The quality of meditation present in Ashtanga is a terrific way to strengthen those reflective skills that can be flaunted in some areas of life. While in the session, you won’t be challenged with any possible problems other tan achieving each pose.
Take this time to build mental patience and understanding what you lack to achieve the goal before you. This way, when you’re outside of the class and locked away with an awkward situation, you can relate those same mental skills and operate them with composure.
Level Up Your Yoga Experience Today
Ashtanga yoga is mostly therapeutic and sparks loyalty in its practitioners. This vigorous, beginner style of practice applies to those who like a sense of order and those who want to do things independently.
Whatever your reasons for performing an Ashtanga yoga practice will, for sure, encourage physical improvements and mental growth. By reinforcing the body and mind, you may also attain a deeper spiritual connection to that which you’ll remember in life’s golden light. Namaste.