Ashtanga yoga is referred to as Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. It is a style of yoga that was developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and T. Krishnamacharya in the 20th century in 1975. They claimed it originated from a system of Hatha yoga described in the ancient text, the “Yoga Korunta.” Ashtanga yoga is an aggressive, flowing style that connects the movement of the body with the breath. The method stresses the concern of daily practice of a set series of movements. There are total six sequences of Ashtanga yoga, which the student should progress at their own pace. Ashtanga Yoga is for people who like a highly structured practice. Sequences are predefined based on your personal level. The poses are to be done in a constant flow according to your pace.

Ashtanga Yoga is one of the most popular styles of yoga. This type of yoga involves doing specific sequences of Ashtanga Yoga poses, which are done in a continuous, flowing, fast-paced manner. , Ashtangis ( Ashtanga Yoga practitioners ), moves from one pose to another, timed with every inhale and exhale. Ashtanga Yoga is a vinyasa-style class. There are total five series of Ashtanga asanas and every student had to first master all poses of the first series before moving onto the poses of second series. Ashtanga Yoga came to the western countries through students of Sri Pattabi Jois( He passed away in 2009 after establishing his yoga centre in Mysore, India). Beginners beware! This is a tough class. You have to first learn other yoga asanas in order to learn the basic poses before jumping into an Ashtanga practice.

The first series of Ashtanga begins with 10 sun salutations (five A and five B), continues with a series of standing poses done on each side(left and right), and then finishes with a set of inversions and seated poses (which are linked by a vinyasa).

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Ashtanga Vinyasa is one of the forms of Hatha Yoga which was formalized in the second half of the 20th century by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This method integrates breath, gaze, posture and movement to open up the experience of the body, and to encourage the flow of our creativity. Though it can be demanding, Ashtanga can be practised by nearly anyone. There are no requirements but a love of inquiry and experimentation, tempered with an openness to the unfamiliar, and a readiness to experience emotional release while working with the challenges of an unusual contemplative form. Immersion in the practice can have a profound impact. Those who practice assiduously can find themselves transcending rigid tendencies of mind, dispelling essentialist projections, and rediscovering traces of the sublime in everyday life.

When practised correctly, it demands a high degree of focus and concentration; generates an internal heat that cleanses and purifies; creates a strong, supple body; and brings clarity to the mind. You remove all the clutter you have gathered during the previous day and begin clearing out the accumulated rubbish that you have built up throughout your life. After practice you are ready to face the world and all its challenges, refreshed and renewed.

“Yoga is for internal cleansing, not external exercising. The meaning of Yoga is true self-knowledge.”

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Human bodies contain a true record of who we are. This record reflect the choices we have made in life – the way we carry ourselves. Our bodies contain our scars (physical and emotional) and are irrefutable. In comparison, our minds are completely untrustworthy. They don’t have to be grounded and are free to be playful, imaginative, erratic and inconsistent.

Vina Vinyasa Yogena asanadih na karayet”
‘Oh Yogi, do not practice asana without vinyasa’. Vamana Rishi Yoga Korunta.


  • Physical Strength:- Ashtanga yoga focuses on physical strength and muscle training. It also helps in weight management, increases flexibility, works on core strength, and builds stamina and endurance.
  • Mental Healing:- It opens your mind, allows you to apprehend knowledge and is great for mental rejuvenation. Ashtanga also helps people who are suffering from any issue that involves the brain. People suffer from lower back issues, this is because of tension or headaches due to stress.
  • Spiritual Well Being:- As mentioned above, Ashtanga also works on spiritual healing. Ashtanga promotes openness of the soul, it is a great way to get connected with your inner-self. It will help you fall in love again and also give you a better understanding of the self. Ashtanga benefits are endless, it is meant to awaken our spiritual self.
  • Other Benefits:- It helps you to lead a happy, healthy, and fruitful life. Ashtanga Yoga also benefits your intellect. It opens the mind, makes your IQ strong, builds confidence, helps to interact with people, etc., to name a few.
  • Emotional Benefits:- Emotional benefits consist of controlling emotions. It is said that most of the sufferings are caused by emotions.
  • Improve flexibility:- Ashtanga will continuously improve your flexibility over time. I found my flexibility started improving after a few weeks of practice.
  • Increase strength:- For a lot of the movements you are working to hold your bodyweight upon just your hands or you are balancing on one leg. My arms and shoulders also look more firm and toned.
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness:- If you’ve ever made it through a full counted-led primary series then you’ll know how much you sweat in Ashtanga.
  • Reduce body fat:- Since committing to a daily Ashtanga practice I’ve noticed less fat on my arms and around my stomach area, so if you’re looking to drop a few pounds then this is the yoga style for you.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety:- Some people think that doing the same sequence of postures every day is too repetitive and they lose interest. Each to their own – it won’t work for everyone!
  • Increase focus and creativity:- When you are totally relaxed and calm, without stressing about the future or dwelling on the past, your mind becomes clear. In this state, I have experienced the most creativity than ever before in my life! I’m not generally an arty person so my creativity comes in the form of inspiration for new business ideas. It almost sounds counter-intuitive that if you’re in the present moment you are thinking about future business plans! But it’s just that your mind is rarely empty so these ideas never have space to emerge unless you make space for them!
  • Lower blood pressure:- This involves a slight contraction of the glottis at the back of the throat to make the sound of the ocean as you breathe in and out of your nose. Extending your inhalations and exhalations to create long, deep and calm breaths. Many studies suggest that this breathing technique lowers blood pressure over time.
  • Prevent injuries:- As you get older your body becomes more prone to injuries and practising yoga is a great way to stay fit and supple so you can enjoy a better quality of life for longer.

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Ashta + anga is Ashtanga in Sanskrit, and Meaning of “Ashta” is Eight and “Anga” is limbs, so Ashtanga on whole means eight limb path. Ashtanga yoga is based on yoga philosophy of Patanjali.


Yoga has its roots for more than 5000 years BC as described in Tantras and Vedic Philosophy. Samadhi is the main technique the yogi leans by which to dive depths of the mind to achieve kaivala. Ashtanga Yoga is generally called Patanjali Yoga, indicating to Maharishi Patanjali, the ancient author of the famous Patanjali yoga sutras that describe Ashtanga Yoga. Historians place the writing of this authority at around 200 B.C

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The 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga, described as follows:-

1. Yama refers to the five abstentions:-The first limb consists of a set of ethics.

Ahimsa: non-violence

Satya: truth in word

Asteya: Non-covetousness.

Brahmacharya: It is also responsible for behaviour with respect to our goal of moving toward the truth.

Aparigraha: non-acceptance of gift

2. Niyama refers to the five observances:- The second limb consists of observances. Rather it refers to the propensity of the body/mind.

Stain ability is the propensity of the body and mind to take on conditioning or imprint from the environment. The observances are physical and mental cleanliness, contentment, simplicity, study of sacred texts and acceptance of the existence of the Supreme Being.
Shaueha: Purity
Santosha: Satisfaction
Tapas: Rigor and associated observances for body discipline and thereby mental control.
Svadhyaya: the study of the Vedic authority to know about God and Soul, which leads to introspection on a greater awakening to the soul and God within.
IshvaraPranidhana: Worship of God, or Surrender to God.

3. Asana Discipline of the body:
The body profoundly influences and it in bad condition impinges on the functioning of mind and intellect.
In fact, our body is the crystallized history of our past thoughts.
It is to be noted that if you practising forcefully it will only superimpose a new layer of subconscious imprints based on suffering and pain. It will also increase identification with the body.
The problem with this is that we are only ever relating to ourselves as what we want to become in the future and not as we are right now. The other extreme focuses on highlighting past traumas.

4. Pranayama:- Control of breath beneficial to health, steadies the body and is highly conducive to the concentration of the mind.
The oscillating or pulsating of prana happens simultaneously with the movements of the Chittavritti (mind). The practise of pranayama is the study and exercise of one`s breath to a point where it is appeased and does not agitate the mind.
By slightly constricting the glottis, the breath is stretched long. Pranayama Yoga also goes hand in hand with the asanas.

5. Pratyahara:- Withdrawal of senses from their external objects, in Vinyasa Yoga, sense withdrawal is practised through Drishti- the focal point.
Towards the centre of the forehead (third eye)
Towards the navel,
Towards the fingertips,
Towards the toes,
Towards the side, towards the thumb upwards

6. Dharana:-
Dharana is used in meditation and is the training of concentration which enables us to stay focused under any circumstances.
Concentration in vinyasa yoga is practiced by focusing on the bandhas (bonding). On an internal level, the focus is on the bonding together of movement, breath and awareness.

But on an external level, the focus is on mala and uddiyanaBandha(Pelvic and Lower abdominal locks). To archive this bonding, we have to first let go off the beta brain-wave pattern, which normally accompanies concentration.

7. Dhayana:-
The difference between dhayana and the dharana is that in concentration, there is a conscious effort to exclude all thoughts that are not relevant to the object we choose.

8. Samadhi:-
Samadhi is the highest form of yoga. There are two kinds of samadhi which are objective and objective less. Objective Samadhi is when the mind for the first time, clear reflects faithfully what it is directed at and does not just produce another simulation of reality.
In this Samadhi the thought waves are suspended which leads to knowledge of that which was always there, consciousness or the divine self. The final state is beyond practising, beyond doing, beyond achieving. It is a state of pure ecstatic being described by the tern kavalya a state in which there are total freedom and independence from any external stimulation whatsoever.

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What is Ashtanga Yoga

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