Asthanga yoga is the most vigorous form of yoga. The term Ashtanga literally means “eight limbs,” indicative of the eight limbs of yoga. While it remains faithful to yoga’s ancient traditions, Asthanga yoga is different in that it requires the yoga practitioner to practice a specific series of yoga asanas that flow together without breaking. This is called the Vinyasa style of yoga, or flow yoga. The practitioner swiftly moves from one pose to the next on just one inhale or exhale of breath.
Gentler forms of yoga aid in flexibility and strengthen muscles, but do not increase the heart rate enough to burn serious calories. The intensive approach to Ashtanga yoga is definitely more rigorous and is a form of cardio exercise. Those who wish to lose weight while reaping the many benefits yoga has to offer often turn to Ashtanga yoga.
Ashtanga yoga is not for advanced yoga practitioners, only; there are six different specific asana sequences. The first sequence (the primary sequence) is the yoga Sun Salutation, followed by various standing and seated poses. This series is designed to alignt he spine and detoxify the body. There is an intermediate series, which also requires the Sun Salutation sequence followed by more challenged seated and standing postures. The intermediate series was designed to cleanse the central nervous system. There are four advanced series that are for only extremely advanced yoga students as they incorporate challenging arm balances and rigorous postures that require ultimate strength and stability.
Ashtanga yoga is all about structure: the order of the specific asanas is to be followed meticulously. Deep breathing combined with the vinyasa style flow of posturing will make a person break a sweat. This form of yoga is great for people who would like to conquer and memorize asanas and gradually build upon their learning. It is an especially revitalizing and invigorating form of yoga that improves circulation, strengthens the heart, and sharpens the mind.
If you are looking to learn more about Ashtanga yoga or if you seek guidance from experienced yoga practitioners, please feel free to download our Ashtanga yoga video. Ashtanga yoga is one of the best forms of yoga to practice from the comfort of your home. Once you learn the sequence, you just need comfortable clothes and a yoga mat to achieve physical prowess and spiritual enlightenment!