Ashtanga means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit. This idea was explored in Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It’s an ancient practice derived from an ancient text, the Yoga Korunta. It became popular in the western world around the 1970s.

Ashtanga-YogaStudents began spreading westward and influencing the way this type of yoga is practiced in our day. The thing most people like about ashtanga is that progress is measurable. There are a clear six stages to work through at your own pace. As you progress, you move to the next series.

The first series is Yoga Chikitsa, which is a therapy designed to realign the spine while also detoxing the body and building strength, flexibility, and stamina. The whole set of 75 poses can take up to two hours to complete. It goes from sun salutations to standing and seated poses, through inversions and backbends, and then to relaxation poses.

The more advanced series purify the nervous system and align the energy channels throughout your body. Arm balances make the third series extremely difficult. Most students practice only the first two series’.

Students often take classes to become familiar with the structure of ashtanga yoga and then start to self-lead, at home. The company of others keeps some students coming back, even after they are able to practice alone. It’s nicer with company.

The athletic style appeals to those who like order and independence. It usually leaves practitioners very sweaty, by producing an intense internal heat. This sweat is meant to detoxify the muscles and organs.

Improved circulation and a light, strong body will result from practicing ashtanga. A calmer mind is often reported as a favorable result, as well.


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