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Ashtanga Yoga – Benefits and Training

Ashtana Yoga (Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga) is a style of Yoga that is promoted as the modern form of Yoga. K.Pattabhi Jois founded and popularized this style. He had begun to learn Yoga from the age of 12 in the year 1927. By 1948, Pattabhi Jois established an institute that taught Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. The name for this new style of yoga was coined after the eight limbs of Yoga that are mentioned in Yoga Sutras of Patajali.

Ashtanga yoga emphasizes on flexibility, relaxation and breathing. It is aimed solely at improving the health of the person practicing this style of Yoga. Viniyasa popularly known as Ashtanga involves several breathing techniques and it requires the person to have full control over their breathing. It needs lot of dedication and practice to become a professional in this field.

Steps and Tips of Ashtanga

The fact is that we have been practicing Yoga right from our childhood, either knowingly or unknowingly. However, it is not done systematically and therefore we do not get the effects that are related to it. By performing yoga under the guidance of an expert will ensure that you get better results. Let us have a look at a few steps and tips related to Viniyasa.

  • You start by doing the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). This is a complete cycle of stretching of the body wherein every nerve of the body is stretched and becomes active. Surya Namaskar includes moderate to extreme levels of stretching of the body.
  • It is important to inhale properly at the right time while stretching for maximum effect.
  • Once you have understood the way to practice Surya Namaskar you can try other asanas such as Tadasana or Mountain Pose. This also involves stretching of the body and therefore counting the breath is important.
  • Tadasana requires you to stand straight with both feet together. You have to hold your arms in a prayer position and slowly lift your toes. Simultaneously, lift the hands up in the air and stretch to the maximum. Hold this position for some seconds while counting your breath.
  • Next asana is the Uttan Tadasana, which is the second stage of Tadasana. Lie on your back and keep your toes together. Take a deep breath, hold it and raise your hands up above the head. Now slowly lift your legs upwards as much as possible.
  • Avoid pushing to the maximum immediately. Slowly increase the level of stretching to avoid any injury. Exhale and slowly bring the hands down. Repeat this at least 10 times for better results.

Ashtanga Yoga can be fun to practice, but it is a challenge as well. As there are many benefits to Ashtanga Yoga, doing it regularly is a good option. However, it is important to practice any type of Yoga under expert supervision until you have mastered it. Athletes use Yoga to strengthen the muscles of the body and to improve the overall flexibility and stamina of the body. Yoga focuses on controlling the breath and this has been proven to help athletes in their overall conditioning

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