Ashtanga Yoga is an intense and disciplined form of Yoga practice, it consists of a series of vinyasas, yoga postures performed in a sequence that creates a flow of movement throughout the session. Traditionally it starts and finishes with a mantra recitation to express the wish for healing, prosperity and acknowledgement of Patanjali.
The regular practice of Ashtanga Yoga can improve your fitness level and wellbeing, as the constant repetition of a wide range of postures can increase your stamina and flexibility. Ashtanga Yoga also builds the upper body strength and improves your posture. The regular practice of ashtanga yoga, together with a healthy diet can help you to lose weight, keep fit and athletic. The dynamic nature of ashtanga creates an excellent combination of cardio and tone workout, helping you to keep in good shape with a healthy body and mind.
The practice of Ashtanga yoga should be carried out in combination with Ujjayi Pranayama breathing – the victorious breath, which consists of the narrowing of the air passages in your throat enabling precise control of the flow of air in and out of the body. The practice of ashtanga yoga combined with the ujjayi breath can increase your lung capacity, it creates a feeling of heat in the body which helps the muscles to stretch, helps the body to detox and creates a rhythm to the yoga practice that improves concentration and focus to reach a meditative state. Performing Ujjayi pranayama during yoga practice facilitates a stillness of mind and also helps the body to control the breath and avoid panting during intense exercise. Also Mula Bandha should be contracted throughout the entire practice of Ashtanga yoga.
Start the Ashtanga Yoga Workout
You can start the ashtanga yoga workout with the standing forward bend sequence, as it helps to stretch the muscles in preparation for the session.
This can be followed by about 10 repetitions of the Sun Salutation. The sun salutation is a workout in itself, as it helps to improve your cardiovascular fitness and body strength. It is a vital part of Ashtanga Yoga, helping to warm up the muscles in preparation for the practice. The number of repetitions for the sun salutation is just a guideline. You can do more or less than 5, depending on your level of fitness, and you can build it up gradually.
Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series – Yoga Lesson
Now you can start praticing the different asanas. Remember to repeat each posture on both sides for balance. The Sun Salutation A is repeated after each posture, although you don’t have to do it after every posture if you don’t want to. Practice Ashtanga Yoga in accordance to your fitness level. If you feel breathless and need to take a break, than just rest in the child pose between postures instead of doing the sun salutation. You can build your stamina up with time, as your practice improves.
- Utthita Trikonasana – The Extended Triangle Pose
- Parivritta Trikonasana – The Revolved Triangle Pose
- Utthita Parsvakonasana – The Extended Side Angle Pose
- Parivritta Parsvakonasana – The Revolved Side Angle Pose
- Prasarita Padottanasana A – The Intense Spread Leg Stretch Pose
- Rishi’s Pose
- Utkatasana – The Chair Pose
- Paschimottanasana A – The Seated Forward Bend Pose
- Janu Sirsasana A – The Head to Knee Forward Bend Pose
- Ardha Matsyendrasana – The Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
- Navasana – The Boat Pose
- Baddha Konasana A – The Butterfly or Bound Angel pose
- Upavishta Konasana A – The Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend Pose
- Urdhva Dhanurasana – The Upward Bow or Wheel Pose
- Salamba Sarvangasana – The Shoulderstand Pose
- Halasana – The Plow Pose
- Padmasana – The Lotus Pose
- Savasana – The Corpse/Relaxation Pose
After you finish your yoga practice take a few minutes in the relaxation pose and free your mind of any thoughts. Concentrate your attention on your breathing and relax.
When you finished the relaxation you will feel reinvigorated and full of energy. The benefits of Ashtanga Yoga will make you feel more alert, vibrant and fitter.
This Ashtanga Yoga workout lesson can take about 1 hour to complete. But, you are encouraged to take your time and practice at your own pace. Ashtanga Yoga is challenging and rewarding, as it helps to boost your self-esteem and confidence within yourself. It is also an effective workout to keep you in good shape.
Marcia has been practising yoga for over 20 years and has specialised in the Hatha and Ashtanga schools of yoga, although has also enjoyed learning other branches such as Iyengar. As well as yoga she practices meditation, and plays a wide range of sports, including badminton, cricket, cycling, and walking.