Imagine Balance

imagining balance to achieve balance

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

There are many forms of yoga of which I’ve chosen to take a beginners Ashtanga course. Ashtanga is the Sanskrit word for “eight limbed”. The eight limbs of Ashtanga are:

  1. Yama – moral codes
  2. Niyama – self-purification and study , personal observances
  3. Asana – body postures, physical study
  4. Pranayama – breath control
  5. Pratyahara – sense control
  6. Dharana – concentration, cultivating inner peceptual awareness
  7. Dhyana – meditation, devotion
  8. Samadhi – contemplation, union with the Divine

Ashtanga yoga consists of 150 asanas (poses) that are practiced in the same order (great for Type A Personalities). You can of course mix it up at home. One starts with 5 Sun Salutations A, then 5 Sun Salutations B, then Standing and Seated poses, followed by a finishing sequence. I’ll of course go into these as I learn them.

So where did Ashtanga yoga come from? The Ashtanga Vinyasa series is said to have its origin in an ancient text called the Yoga Korunta. In addition, there is evidence that the Ashtanga Vinyasa series incorporates exercises used by Indian wrestlers and British gymnastics. Krishnamacharya has had considerable influence on many of the modern forms of yoga taught today. Among his students were many notable present-day teachers such as K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi, and Krishnamacharya’s son T.K.V. Desikachar. Vinyasa has since been thought of as a physically demanding practice, which can be successful at channeling the hyperactivity of young minds. This system can also be used as a vessel for helping calm ongoing chatter of the mind, reducing stress and teaching extroverted personalities to redirect their attention to their internal experience. – from Wikipedia

What can Ashtanga yoga do for you? Not only is it a full body work-out, but it helps ease stress!


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