Commence the trans-formative journey of the body, mind, and soul with one of the traditional forms of yoga – Ashtanga. The eight-limbed spiritual practice of Ashtanga is packed with immense benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. To avail them all, read the blog and know about the primary series of Ashtanga yoga to get started.
“The full Ashtanga system practiced with devotion leads to freedom within one’s heart.”
– K. Pattabhi Jois
Yoga, the ancient science of life aims at moving the being towards a higher state of consciousness with good health and a balanced system. Without a strong being, it becomes difficult to reach the ultimate goal and to find the necessary equanimity for the same. Asana is the way out that prepares the body and mind for an intense meditation that leads you to the level of awareness and consciousness. The regular yogic practice serves the purpose; it functions as a therapy to various conditions that affect the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual states.
When practices rightly and correctly, the yoga postures heal and restore the balance making the entire being strong, resilient and stable. The concept of curing diseases and bringing the body into balance justify the teaching of Ashtanga Yoga primary series.
Also Read: The Health Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga
What is Ashtanga Yoga?
One of the traditional forms of yoga, Ashtanga Yoga is widely popular as the eight-limbed yoga practice that follows the eight spiritual paths of yoga. An Ashtanga is a dynamic form of yoga, an energetic and physically demanding form where breath and movement unify to produce inner heat that intends to purify the body.
Ashtanga yoga is amazing that starts off following certain ethics, performing asanas, and ultimately accomplishes the yogic aim of unifying with the spiritual being. Ashtanga tones the body, builds core strength, and its daily practice helps in dissolving the physical and mental afflictions and ignites self-awareness.
The Eight Limbed Spiritual Practice of Ashtanga Yoga
1. Yama (Moral Codes or Ethics)
- Ahimsa (non-violence)
- Satya (truthfulness)
- Asteya (non-stealing)
- Brahmacharya (controlling sexual energy)
- Aparigraha (non-coveting)
2. Niyama (Observance)
- Shaucha (self-purification)
- Santosh (contentment)
- Tapas (self-discipline)
- Svadyaya (self-study)
- Ishvara Pranidhana (devotion)
3. Asana (Posture)
4. Pranayama (Breath Control)
5. Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Sense)
6. Dharma (Concentration or Focus)
7. Dhyana (Meditation)
8. Samadhi (Enlightenment)
- Swasa (breath)
- Vinyasa (linking breath and movement)
- Drishti (gazing)
- Sthithi (key position)
- Bandhas (locking energy)
The Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga yoga primary series is known as Yoga Chikitsa, which means yoga therapy because the series bestow toning and cleansing effects on the mind and body. Ashtanga yoga primary series on a physical level with the help of asanas is liable to build strength and flexibility by loosening up the muscles, restoring balance and realigning the nervous system. The primary series starts off with the forward bend postures followed by the twist and hip openers.
On a mental level, the practice improves the focus and confidence, ignites awareness and helps to overcome mental obstacles.
Ashtanga yoga primary series bestows therapeutic effects on the mind and body by clearing the energy channels or chakras known as Nadi. Clearing of the obstacles allows the free flow of prana for the enhanced functioning of the body and mind.
Ashtanga yoga primary series Asanas
“Asanas are not the goal. They are a vehicle to access a deeper internal awareness”
– David Swenson
As mentioned, Ashtanga is a dynamic form of yoga where you practice a series of asanas from one to another without holding it for a much longer time. The primary series of Ashtanga yoga is the easiest series and forms a strong foundation to grow. The series is the base practice that integrates new poses into an established system.
The asanas sequences promote strength and flexibility and are packed with enormous benefits. The method of practice is to memorize the posture or sequel flow and practice them daily. Practice the sequences by following the rhythm and counting on the breath of your own. Ashtanga practice encourages the practitioner to focus inward and to introspect.
- The practice begins with the Surya Namaskar series A and B.
- Followed by standing sequences that include, and then Vinyasa poses is being practiced.
- The practice then leads toward Yoga Chikitsa sequences and in the end, finishing poses are being practiced.
A different aspect of Ashtanga yoga primary series
Ashtanga yoga primary series is a foundation setting pattern and opens the body for an invaluable opportunity to re-balance itself. It emphasize on certain aspects of the practice in order to use the yoga from therapeutically and create desired balance.
There are specific sequences that make up the primary series, as mentioned, and a practitioner can choose how and which aspects need to be emphasised. One needs to be very careful when doing the poses that need to be performed on both the sides one-by-one like in Janu Sirasana. Avoid rushing during the Vinyasa poses like Urdhva Mukha Savasana.
Ashtanga is an amazing yoga form and with time and regular practice you evolve into a refined practitioner and ready yourself for heightened learning through Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training.
Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He organise 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh. Bipin Baloni conducts Yoga Teacher Training in India in different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.