Ashtanga Yoga Poses for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guideline

Are you looking to add Ashtanga yoga poses to your daily practice? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! (Ashtanga Yoga Poses for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guideline) This comprehensive guide will provide you with a step-by-step breakdown of the primary series of Ashtanga yoga poses.

Ashtanga yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on synchronizing breath and movement to build strength and flexibility. With this guide, you’ll learn the basic principles of Ashtanga yoga and how to properly execute the primary series of poses. So let’s get started!


History of Ashtanga

Vamana Rishi is said to have first introduced the concept of the eight limbs of yoga, which make up the foundation of the Ashtanga practice.

In the 19th century, a renowned yogi by the name of Sri Krishnamacharya rediscovered an ancient manuscript called the Yoga Korunta which described Ashtanga’s Vinyasa system. He then taught this system to his students, one of which was Sri K.

Pattabhi Jois, later developed and popularized the practice we know today as Ashtanga Yoga. At its core, Ashtanga Yoga is a system that emphasizes the synchronizing of breath with movement.

It is divided into six different levels, with the primary series representing the starting point for most practitioners. This series is composed of Ashtanga yoga poses that are designed to systematically open up and strengthen the body in preparation for more advanced postures.

Practicing this system regularly also provides numerous benefits, such as increased strength, improved flexibility, and increased mental focus.


Yoga koruna

The practice of Ashtanga yoga poses was first documented in the Yoga Korunta, a manuscript written by Vamana Rishi. The Yoga Korunta contained a list of asanas (postures) and vinyasas (breath patterns) that formed the basis of the Ashtanga yoga system.

This system was further developed by Sri T. Krishnamacharya, who passed it on to his students, Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar. The Yoga Korunta was made up of eight chapters of text, with each chapter focusing on a different aspect of the practice.

It covered both physical postures as well as aspects of philosophy, meditation, and pranayama. The yoga koruna described the traditional Ashtanga yoga system, which consists of six series, each made up of a set sequence of asanas and vinyasas.

Each series builds upon the previous one, allowing practitioners to progress steadily. The primary series is the most widely known and practiced of the six series. It focuses on developing strength and flexibility while cleansing the body and calming the mind.


Limbs of Ashtanga

One of the unique aspects of Ashtanga yoga is that it follows the eight limbs of yoga as outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. These eight limbs are: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.

Each limb focuses on an aspect of physical and mental health that together work towards a holistic approach to wellbeing.

Yama refers to one’s ethics and interactions with the world around them. This includes abstaining from violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, and more.

Niyama emphasizes the practice of self-discipline and introspection. This includes cleanliness, contentment, self-study, and more.

Asana focuses on physical postures, which is why this limb is most commonly associated with Ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga poses a challenge to strength, balance, and flexibility to develop these qualities.

Pranayama refers to the practice of controlling breath through breathing exercises and breathing patterns.

Pratyahara is the practice of withdrawing from external stimulation and focusing on inner awareness and thoughts.

Dharana emphasizes the practice of concentration and focus.

Dhyana is meditation.

Samadhi is the attainment of spiritual enlightenment through meditation.

Levels of Ashtanga

The practice of Ashtanga yoga poses is divided into six levels or series. The primary series, also known as Yoga Chikitsa, focuses on purifying the body and mind through postures that target the organs and systems

This series is traditionally practiced in the morning and focuses on building strength, flexibility, and balance.

The intermediate series, also known as Nadi Shodana, works on purifying the nervous system by practicing more challenging postures.

This series is typically practiced in the afternoon and prepares practitioners for advanced practices. The advanced series is the most challenging level of practice and consists of four additional series.

Advanced A, B, C, and D are designed to take practitioners to their highest potential and can only be practiced after mastering the primary and intermediate series. As part of the Ashtanga practice, practitioners must master the primary series before moving on to the other levels.

This series is a dynamic flow of postures, often referred to as vinyasas, that link breath, and movement. It requires discipline and dedication to build strength and stamina while refining body alignment and breath awareness.

Each posture in this series builds upon the next, preparing the body for more advanced asanas as well as meditation.

Mysore yoga

In my article, Ashtanga Yoga Poses for Beginners: A Comprehensive Guideline. I will show you the different types of Ashtanga yoga poses that are part of the primary series, as well as what each pose does and how to properly perform them.

To begin with, let’s discuss one of the most common Ashtanga yoga poses – sun salutations or Surya Namaskar. This series of postures are meant to warm up and energize your body before moving on to more intense poses and practices.

It is composed of twelve poses that are performed in a specific order and begin with standing poses such as Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and Uttanasana (Forward Bend).

It then moves into plank pose, followed by Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose), and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose).

Advantages of Yoga

Yoga has been used for centuries to improve physical and mental well-being. Ashtanga yoga is one of the oldest forms of yoga, with its origins dating back to Vamana Rishi and the Yoga Korunta. Practicing Ashtanga yoga poses can have many health benefits.

Including improved flexibility, strength, balance, and mental clarity. One of the primary benefits of Ashtanga yoga is improved strength. Ashtanga yoga poses are designed to target all major muscle groups, helping you develop lean muscle mass and build overall strength.

Additionally, by stretching and strengthening your muscles, Ashtanga yoga can help reduce injury risks and improve joint stability. Another advantage of Ashtanga yoga is increased flexibility. Ashtanga yoga poses are designed to gradually increase the range of motion and improve flexibility over time.

By stretching and elongating the muscles, practitioners can become more limber and agile. Additionally, a greater range of motion can help prevent injury and improve posture. The practice of Ashtanga yoga also has significant mental benefits.

Ashtanga yoga poses encourage practitioners to focus on their breath and stay in the moment, creating a mindful practice that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition, regular practice can help improve concentration, clarity, and focus.

Overall, Ashtanga yoga poses have many advantages that can help improve physical and mental health. By practicing regularly, you can experience improved strength, flexibility, balance, and mental clarity.


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