Ashtanga yoga classes are highly beneficial for beginners and perfect for the newbies to start their practice with. Though it is considered a difficult style of yoga to master, an assisted regular practice of ashtanga yoga style with a professional trainer is the best way to learn.
As the yoga has recently gained much popularity in mainstream fitness and wellness regime, there has emerged many different variations and styles of yoga. All these yoga styles have different variations, techniques, and focus points, giving different benefits. With so many options available it is always better to first question yourself what benefits you want to gain in yoga practice. Once you find out the correct answer it becomes easy for you to choose the right yoga style.
6 most popular styles of yoga are –
- Hatha yoga
- Ashtanga yoga
- Vinyasa yoga
- Iyengar yoga
- Power yoga
- Kundalini yoga
What is ashtanga yoga style?
The term ashtanga yoga literally means “eight-limbed yoga”, as mentioned in Yoga Sutras by Sage Patanjali. According to the yoga sutras, it is the ultimate way of internal purification. It connects the universal self with the eight spiritual practices or sutras- Yama (morals), Niyama (self-purification and connection), Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing), Pratyahara (self-awareness and control), Dharana (focus), Dhyana (meditation), Samadhi (dissolving in-universe).
Why ashtanga yoga style?
It is a modern approach to classical Indian yoga. This style of yoga is energetic and involves the synchronization of breath with body movements. It is an intensive athletic practice. It’s dynamic, physically demanding practice collaborated with breathing techniques produces an internal heat, that purifies the body. It is great for toning your body and especially strengthening the core build. Ashtanga yoga classes offer a yoga style with quick transitions and challenging poses. The students need to transition from one pose to another at a quicker pace and holding time is also less than the Hath practice.
How ashtanga yoga helps?
During the practice of ashtanga yoga, you are forced to focus and grow. To perform ashtanga one must incorporate both vinyasa and tristhana.
Vinyasa means synchronizing the breathing with the movement. Due to this synchronization heat is produced which results in cleaning and thinning of blood improving its circulation. Due to increased circulation toxins and diseases are removed from the internal system, joint pain is also relieved. As the impurities are carried out of the body, it becomes light, energetic, and healthy.
Tristhana is the union of the three places of attention that are- body posture, breathing pace, and focus look or the place where you see. These actions cover three levels of purification: the body, the central nervous system, and the mind.
The benefits of ashtanga yoga classes are –
- It focuses on muscle strengthening and gives improves stamina.
- It builds physical strength and increases lung functioning.
- It rejuvenates the body making it more flexible, controlled and toned.
- Improves the internal system and thus helpful for overall fitness.
- It reduces body fat and aids in weight loss.
- Increases focus and creativity.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Treats high blood pressure and is great for your spine.
Common Ashtanga yoga poses to learn –
Here are some common ashtanga yoga poses you can start your practice with-
Surya namaskar –
Surya namaskara is termed the ultimate asana due to its high level of physical and mental benefits. It is usually performed at the dawn but can be practiced at any time of the day. It is generally performed at the beginning of the ashtanga yoga practice. All eight limbs are involved during the practice of Surya Namaskara especially the Ashtanga Namaskara.
Comes in the starting sequence of vinyasa ashtanga yoga. There are around four variations of Prasarita Padottanasana. It stretches the hamstring and opens the hips, elongates the spine, and opens the chest.
Ardha baddha pashchimottanasana
Though it is placed early in the Ashtanga sequence it is quite a tricky position. It relieves the stiffness in the knees and tones the hips. It improves respiratory health. It is helpful in increasing the flexibility and strength of the body.
Chakrasana is often considered to reduce belly fat and increase the flexibility of the spine. It is highly beneficial in reducing hair fall too. Fresh oxygenated blood gets smoothly into the brain during its practice, providing suitable nutrients to the hair follicle. It stimulates the thyroid and pituitary gland thus balancing the hormones.
Confused about which yoga style to choose? Read this article on Pro tips to find the right type of yoga for you.