Another month, another yoga style!
For the last couple of months, we’ve been breaking down yoga styles: the origin, the sequence, the vibes… And you might have noticed that we kept referring to Ashtanga Yoga. And this is because many yoga styles come from or are inspired by the Ashtanga sequence. So let us tell you the story:
‘Ashtanga’ literally means ‘eight limbs’ and refers to the eight limbs of yoga detailed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras:
Yama (attitudes toward our environment)
Niyama (attitudes toward ourselves)
Asana (physical postures)
Pranayama (breath control)
Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
Samadhi (complete integration)
These limbs describe various stages of holistic yoga practice, from lifestyle to enlightenment, encouraging you to take the practice off the mat and into your everyday life.
So, how did Ashtanga become what it is today?
Two Indian yoga teachers Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois, began to develop the Ashtanga Yoga that we know and love today in the XXI century.
As the students developed their practice, so did the sequences: the first series is called Primary Series, then Intermediate Series, then Advanced A, Advanced B… So you would gradually learn the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga, and when the teacher felt you were ready, you would move to the Intermediate Series and so on.
What is Ashtanga Yoga like?
Like Rocket Yoga, the Full Ashtanga Primary Series takes around 90 minutes to complete, which means that in most 60 minutes classes, you’re practising a modified Ashtanga sequence.
The practice includes sun salutes, standing postures, seated postures and a finishing sequence before rest.
There is a strong connection between the breath and the transitions between postures. This combination of breath and movement is known as ‘vinyasa’!
Even though the practice is quite challenging, the teacher will provide modifications to help you be safe. Still, because of the intense focus on the breath and Ashtanga’s start with foundation asanas, it’s an excellent style to begin your yoga journey.
As with any yoga set sequence, Ashtanga feels like a moving meditation. But you can expect to break a sweat and improve stamina, coordination and become stronger!
But, by far, this yoga practice emphasises emotional and mental flexibility and strength. It is a practice that will strengthen your body but also your mind. It’s all about the purification of the body and the mind through movement and breath.
When can you practice with us?
We hold Ashtanga classes in each one of our studios in London. Online, you can find plenty of courses via MoreYoga Wellness TV.
About Anna De Sousa
Anna is a London-based yoga teacher & Digital Strategist & writer. After teaching yoga full-time for a couple of years, she joined the Digital Marketing team at MoreYoga to spread the word about wellness even further. Anna is fun and energetic, and she brings her warm personality to everything she does.