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ashtanga yoga what is

What is ashtanga yoga?

What is ashtanga yoga


 Ashtanga Yoga is often called

Classical Yoga. The sage Patañjali defined Ashtanga Yoga in an ancient text he wrote called the Yoga Sutras.

Patañjali codified and taught these practices from the existing yogic knowledge of his time.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patañjali gives the classical definition of yoga and then defines the Yogic Practices or the 8 Limbs necessary to achieve the goal of Yoga.

So, Patañjali was the first Guru of "Ashtanga Yoga"; daily he is given thanks for the practices in the opening chant or prayer.


Ashtanga is much more than a system of physical exercise. Practice establishes sound character in the aspirant and has manifold internal results. To briefly discuss these complementary "limbs":

 8 Limbs necessary to achieve the goal of Yoga.[Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi]



1) Yama is ongoing cultivation of peace - both internally and in action. This includes acts of honesty, integrity, and modesty. Through these, the yogi builds self-will and vital energy.


2) Niyama is actions towards oneself including purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender to the Divine.

 The creativity of the highest quality is manifested through these practices.

 All those seeking to improve themselves, their families, and communities practice Yama and niyama without naming it so. These are natural acts of the highest human potential and goodness.



3) Asana is literally described as a seat. 

This may be a "seat" for meditation such as a cushion or blanket or the actual yogic position that one assumes for a meditative practice. 

There are many asanas described and practiced. 

Yogasanas (yoga positions) has many proven benefits for health and wellness. The first step to spiritual development is through a healthy body.



4) Pranayama is the practice of cultivating and harnessing prana (vital life-force) from the air we breathe. 

Prana may be observed through our respiration, blood and lymph circulation and the activity of the nervous system.

 The yogis also speak of 72,000 nadis (subtle pathways), which are superhighways of this vital energy comparable with the meridians of traditional Chinese medicine.



5) Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana are practices of redirecting the mind inward from its many wanderings and confusions.

 When the mind is fixed on one particular object in such a way that all preconceptions dissolve, meditation floods the mind.



6) Samadhi is the culminating practice of yoga.

 In Samadhi, the yogi approaches mastery and the goal of Self-Realization, experiencing a deep inward bliss.

 However, even Samadhi is a practice and the yogi is continually developing and refining the limbs of yoga.


Ashtanga Yoga History


Yoga history cannot fairly be condensed to one page. Here is a very brief introduction to a small part of this ancient tradition.


Yoga originated in the Asian nation over 5 thousand years past. 


Yoga history can be traced to the Vedic period, approximately 3000 BCE, and specifically to the Rig Veda - the oldest written book in the world.


Yoga is one in every one of the six orthodox systems of Indian Philosophy.


 The date of its origin is difficult to pinpoint, as the actual era from which this knowledge came is much less important than the knowledge itself.


The word “yoga” could be a Sanskrit term that has several meanings. The word itself comes from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” – to yoke or harness.


In India one would bring an ox under control by harnessing it to a wagon, similarly, yoga can be viewed as a process of training and uniting the body, mind, and spirit.

 It has been practiced over the centuries in many different forms.



Ashtanga Yoga Health Benefits

What is ashtanga yoga


Most people today think that “yoga” is equivalent to “stretching,” or some alternative exercise program.

For some, this may be a great place to begin an exploration of yoga… 

However, yoga is so much more than a simple workout. It is a practice that acts as a mirror and is a metaphor for your life.


What do I get out of it?

Whatever you put into it.
That’s how this yoga works.

But don’t be fooled by the shallow portrayal of Yoga in Modern society...




Physical & Mental Yoga Health Benefits


* Reduces the impact of stress

* Increases coping skills

* Increases vitality and overall ABUNDANCE

* Improves the health of your joints

* Improves strength and flexibility

* Improves immune system function

* Can reduce the symptoms of many chronic diseases

* Strengthens the cardiovascular system

* Improves digestion, metabolism, hormone production

* Alleviates depression and anxiety

* Increases feelings of health and wellbeing

* Promotes weight loss and weight regulation

* Improves athletic performance in all endeavors

* Greater sense of clarity and concentration


TIPS TO DO ashtanga yoga-

What is ashtanga yoga

let me give you three pillars of advice on how to make the transition from practicing in the Shala to practicing at home very smooth and quick - so that you can start to have some of the deepest and most introspective practices of your life.


 Tip number one - 


replicate your routine -  

and what I mean by this is that as best you can, every action on your path towards starting your practice should be exactly as it would be if you were going to practice in the shala this is so that you can remain single-pointed in your mindset that you are moving towards starting your practice every action should be done with intention and with efficiency. 


When you wake up in the morning the tendency is that you will have a clear head and an empty stomach,

 it is in this state that the body is primed to receive the meditative experience in the ashtanga yoga practice. 

This is the perfect condition for you to start to practice asana pranayama and meditation as it is prescribed by the Ashtanga method. 

This is one of many reasons why practicing in the early part of the morning is ideal for the consistent and regular practice of Ashtanga Yoga.

 As you can imagine if you just roll out of bed and immediately start practicing next to your unmade bed

 while you're still in your pajamas you couldn't be that surprised if you begin to look within yourself and find that you feel like a dusty old cupboard

so really the path towards beginning your practice is a very important step in having a powerful consistent practice


 tip number two -


 practice efficiency - 

this is an area that you can place your focus into during your practice 

what I mean by practice efficiency is, having a clear understanding of every position that needs to be touched on in your sequence and its associated breathing pattern.

 Being very aware of this allows you to flow effortlessly from one position to the next without adding any positions in between, without stopping for breaks and without skipping any part of the sequence 

when you go to the shala your teacher will tend to hold you accountable by pointing out when you are not practicing efficiently when you practice at home on your own, you will be the only observer of your practice and you will need to hold yourself accountable when your practice is not moving fluidly. 

Practicing efficiently also helps to build and maintain heat and energy in the body which can be very powerful

finally tip number three - 


practice for now -

 there are many reasons why one would practice ashtanga yoga and none of them are more powerful than being exactly where you belong in the present moment

 when I practice with this in mind I feel like I could practice forever

 I feel that I have no desire to end the sequence in no desire to end the pose

 I am purely present and aware and I know that even at the worst of times in this practice

 I love every aspect of the Ashtanga Yoga practice 


HOW TO DO  ashtanga yoga-


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