15 Powerful Ashtanga Yoga Poses And Why You Should Do Them Today
Have you tried ashtanga yoga yet?
If not, you definitely should!
You’ve probably heard of yoga at some point and maybe a little bit confused because of dozens of yoga types people talk about but…
Ashtanga yoga poses are nothing to shy away from. In fact, they can actually do your body and mind amazing things.
Let’s talk about ashtanga yoga, what it is, ashtanga yoga benefits, and basically everything you need to know about this type of yoga practice.
Ashtanga Yoga Description - A Beginner’s Guide
The Ashtanga yoga history dates back to centuries back, as this yoga system comes from the Yoga Korunta, an ancient text written by the Indian sage named Vamana Rishi. But the modern-day Ashtanga yoga practiced today came from the teachings by K. Pattabhi Jois.
Basically, Ashtanga means “eight limbs”. It means that there are eight components to this type of yoga, and one of these is the yoga asanas or the different Ashtanga yoga poses.
What is Ashtanga Yoga?
Ashtanga yoga features a combination of yoga postures performed in a systematized manner where every posture simply flows. These poses help channel and circulate the energy through the bandhas or the body locks or areas in the body.
Six series make up the Ashtanga yoga, and the basis of all of these is the Primary Series.
But what is constant in all of these series are three elements - Ujjayi breath, drishti, and the bandhas. As you perform the different poses, you breathe into them and allow the energy to flow in various areas of your body.
Because of the nature of Ashtanga yoga, it is without a doubt an effective cleansing and flowing meditation practice.
It helps strengthen and energize the body while giving you a peaceful and calm mind.
Ashtanga yoga benefits are indeed holistic and not merely a physical activity to make you sweat and help you burn calories!
Powerful Ashtanga Yoga Poses to Improve Your Body and Mind
Ready to get started?
Get your feet wet and check out these ashtanga yoga poses for you to try today.
These are part of the primary and intermediate series but be sure to consult your medical practitioner before you engage in any of these poses to prevent injuries or unnecessary discomfort.
What is the Purpose of Ashtanga Yoga?
Now that we have established the history and fundamentals of Ashtanga yoga, let’s talk about the benefits.
What exactly does it do to your body?
Here are 9 things that Ashtanga yoga does to help your body and mind - all the more reason to get started with this yoga practice.
1. Enhance your flexibility.
Do you need to be flexible to perform Ashtanga yoga?
It helps but it’s not a primary requirement before engaging in this activity.
No one is born double-jointed, and as you age without ever practicing yoga in your entire life, you cannot expect to be pliable and flexible during your first attempts to doing this type of Yoga.
But as you practice each day, your body will become more flexible. The different yoga postures in Ashtanga also helps to increase the flexibility of your hamstring, which impacts the movements of your trunk.
When your hamstrings lose their flexibility, your pelvic movements will be limited and somewhat uncomfortable. But Ashtanga yoga increases the flexibility of your calf and shoulders.
2. Improve your core strength.
Your core is not just for getting a six-pack.
Most importantly and more than anything else, a strong core keeps your body properly supported and promotes good posture.
This is why by practicing Ashtanga yoga each day, you can reduce lower back pains and even improve core endurance.
3. Help you breathe better.
Do you sometimes find yourself catching your breath?
Or perhaps your breath is a little shallow?
Since Ashtanga yoga involves Ujayii breath or the practice of breathing, this helps you breathe deeply and better.
In fact, Ujjayi breathing is also called the “Victorious breath”, in which you take purified air that you breathe in through each nostril. As you breathe, it helps to increase the energy throughout your body, revitalize the system, and fuel up the metabolic fires.
Not bad for breathing while doing yoga, huh?
4. Build your inner strength.
In yoga, it’s all about prana or energy.
And in Ashtanga yoga, it’s all about harnessing and directing the flow of energy in your mind and body.
This is the secret to inner strength. The focus of the yoga asanas are on the throat, pelvis, and the belly “bandhas”, which keeps you grounded, centered, stable, and strong overall.
5. Minimize body fat.
Ashtanga yoga for beginners and advanced practitioners include a range of postures that help get rid of stubborn fat in various parts of the body, specifically the arms and stomach region. This is why as you use more of your body weight in performing the postures, this aids you in eventually getting a toned and lean body.
But it’s not all about getting leaner because of the vigorous movements and poses…
As you become more grounded and centered, you will also be more aware of your body and be in tune with the relationship between eating and gaining or losing weight.
In simpler terms, you will become more of a conscious eater instead of eating mindlessly and bingeing more often.
6. Relieve stress and promote relaxation.
Ashtanga yoga can help you with that.
This yoga practice focuses on a sequence of different postures that help you concentrate more on what you’re doing instead of what you shouldn’t even be thinking about.
Isn’t that where stress comes from? When you overthink about things that aren’t even worth your energy?
In Ashtanga yoga, you focus on the movements while coordinating every action with your breath. This is why it is also considered as a moving meditative practice that leaves you feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and invigorated.
7. Reduce injury.
Are you more prone to falls, aches, and bodily discomfort?
It could be due to a lack of flexibility and overall body strength.
As you keep practicing Ashtanga yoga in a mindful and safe manner under the guidance and support of a well-trained instructor, you will reap the benefits of minimizing injury.
Your body will eventually become stronger, more flexible, and more balanced - qualities that contribute to reduced chances of injuries.
8. Keep your back strong.
With all the forward and backbends, stretches, and other movements involved in Ashtanga yoga, there is no doubt your back will become stronger than ever.
This yoga practice also tones your lower back muscles and realigns and strengthens your musculoskeletal system… Helping you say goodbye to backache over time!
So if you want to have a healthy and strong back, this type of yoga is for you.
Bonus benefit - it also improves your posture. This definitely enhances your physical appearance and flow of energy, too!
9. Achieve overall health.
Yoga means “union of the body and mind”.
When you practice Ashtanga yoga, not only can you expect to achieve a healthy and strong body but also a peaceful mind.
Clarity of thoughts, enhanced concentration, focus - these are all the side effects of doing yoga every day.
When your body and your mind are in good condition, then these all contribute to your overall state of health.
You will get that natural “high” that does not wane or fluctuate. Now that’s really something worth shooting for!
Practice Ashtanga Yoga Today and Every Day for an Enhanced Health All Over
Ashtanga yoga is definitely more than just your typical make-me-sweat physical activity.
It goes beyond that as it changes your body and your mind all for the better.
Your spine will become more supple and healthier, your limbs stronger, and your breath deeper and your mind clearer.
There’s absolutely every reason for you to get in the yoga train today… And for the rest of your life.
Is it too late to do all of these??
Of course not. But if you keep delaying and postponing it, then it might be.
So start today and quit the what if’s. Ashtanga yoga is great for you, so give your body the gift that this yoga practice offers.