A Deeper Look: Ashtanga Yoga Flow | Ashtanga Yoga Asanas


Do you practice yoga and want to know more about Ashtanga Yoga? Read this article dedicated to Ashtanga Yoga: what it is and all its characteristics. Happy reading (and happy practice!).

Ashtanga yoga, what it is

Yoga is a philosophy, a millenary science that throughout history has created the basis for the birth of many different styles. Practiced today all over the world, yoga is presented to every type of person and personality: from the sweetest and most meditative styles to the most dynamic ones. There really is something for everyone.

A style that includes dynamic and intense movement to a philosophical study and self-knowledge is definitely Ashtanga Yoga. This traditional style has deep roots in India even today. Initiated by the master shri K. Pattabhi Jois and now taught by his nephew Sharath Jois, the Ashtanga method has become more and more popular and known around the world.

What does Ashtanga Yoga mean?

Ashtanga literally means the eight steps and identifies the steps the yogi must take to achieve himself:

Yama, the conduct in social life or the actions that are performed towards others;
Niyama, the individual conduct or actions action towards yourself;
Asanas, positions, posture;
Pranayama, breath control;
Pratyahara, the withdrawal of the senses, their fasting;
Dharana, the deep concentration;
Dhyana, meditation;
Samadhi, liberation, awakening, self-awareness, the ultimate goal of yoga itself.

These are steps that include both ethical indications and meditation. But at the base of everything there is certainly the sequence of asanas to be practiced following some rules.

Ashtanga yoga, the benefits

The benefits given by Ashtanga Yoga are very numerous, indeed like those of yoga in general. Here are the main ones:

promotes concentration and mental relaxation;
strengthens the body, joints and spine, respecting and promoting the natural alignment of the body, restoring the right balance in each area;
helps reduce back pain;
it soothes pains, even those related to the menstrual cycle;
reduces nervous hyperactivity, eliminates stress and fights anxiety and depression;
it helps to recover or strengthen one's spirituality: Ashtanga Yoga represents a real philosophy of life, therefore it develops the mind, body and spirit;
increases vital energy, especially through correct posture and breathing.

Thanks to Ashtanga Yoga, one therefore finds a psychophysical condition of balance and fulfillment, which allows you to recover your physical form, your ethics and your spirituality. Those who practice Ashtanga Yoga consistently feel at one with what surrounds us, whether they are people, plants, animals. It should be remembered that Ashtanga Yoga also makes you lose weight, reactivating the metabolism and giving greater shape to the muscles.

The Ashtanga Yoga series

Ashtanga consists of six series: the first six are Ashtanga yoga asanas sequences, moreover among practitioners it is customary to speak of a "seventh series", that is the "family", because only within a family does one really know himself.

The first series is called Yoga Chikitsa and means the "therapy" of yoga. This series includes a sequence of Ashtanga yoga asanas that aim to cleanse and detoxify the body helping it to heal and maintain health.

Once you have mastered the first series you move on to the second Ashtanga Yoga series which is called Nadi Sodhana and literally means "cleaning the channels", "cleaning the nerves", and is aimed at cleaning the energy channels, where the prana flows. Once the second series has been perfected, we move on to the third and so on.

The Ashtanga yoga asanas sequence is a continuum of movements combined with breathing. The sequence is always the same and the order to follow is always the same and cannot be changed.

First Ashtanga Yoga series

First Ashtanga Yoga series

In this article we focus in particular on the first Ashtanga Yoga series which, as already mentioned, is considered a real therapy. In fact, it serves to give balance to the body and mind and introduces practitioners to the discipline. Its goal is detoxification and purification of the body, making it stronger and more elastic.

Yoga Chikitsa consists of 75 Ashtanga yoga asanas that are completed in a maximum of two hours and is based on a series of positions that alternate in order to work the whole body in a coherent way. Basically, it always starts with the Sun Salutation, the Surya Namaskara A and the Surya Namaskara B, and in general the first series, like all Ashtanga series, is quite fast.

Finally, the sequence always ends with the Savasana, Corpse Pose during the relaxation phase.

Ashtanga Yoga, all the rules to follow:

it is practiced six days a week, Saturdays are not practiced;
women do not practice on moon days, the first three months of pregnancy and the first 40 days after childbirth;
it is practiced in the morning in the early hours of the day, '' continuously and without interruptions ''.

Make sure you explore Ashtanga without pushing yourself too much. Respect your limits and embrace what you can do and acknowledge what you still can’t do. Don’t rush anything but instead try to live in the moment and experience each asana at the time noticing how your body reacts to it. Namaste 

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