What is Ashtanga Yoga? 5 Basic Yoga Exercises to Try – Sportskeeda

When you first hear the words ‘Ashtanga Yoga’, you may feel intimidated. The practice itself can seem too intense and even scary. However, in its most basic form, Ashtanga yoga is a modern form of traditional Indian yoga practice, involving intense discipline, movement, and flexibility.
It’s known for being one of the most athletic forms of yoga. Founded in India by K Patthabi Jois in 1948, a typical Ashtanga routine demands fitness, flexibility, and focus, which can create a meditative workout that’s also sweaty.
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Ashtanga yoga is a sequence of advanced yoga postures practiced in a specific order. The poses are performed with an emphasis on the flow and breath between movements.
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Ashtanga consists of six levels of seated poses and standing poses, which increase in difficulty and do not vary. They are: primary series, secondary series, and four additional advanced levels. At the beginning and end of every class, five cycles of san salutations are practiced.

The practice of ashtanga yoga is rooted in three pillars that encourage practitioners to focus on introspection. They are:
In Ashtanga yoga, ‘breath’ is used to ignite your life force. The pose’s breathing exercise, known as ujayi pranayama, or ‘ocean breath’, increases oxygen level and body heat.
Asanas are the poses you flow through during your yoga practice. The ashtanga vinyasa form of yoga uses a specific sequence of poses that doesn’t change. Activating three bandhas in the body (Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, and Jalandhara Bandha) is part of the workout.
Drishti, or the ‘gaze’ in yoga practice, refers to where you focus your eyes during a session. This concept is an important part of mindfulness and can help improve focus and self-awareness.
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Here are five basic Ashtanga yoga poses you can incorporate in your daily routine:
The standing forward bend is a gentle, calming pose that nourishes the brain and reduces stress. This pose also stimulates the liver and kidneys, stretches the hamstrings and calves, and opens the hips.

How to do it?
The extended triangle pose strengthens the core muscles, increasing balance and stability. This pose can increase flexibility in the spine and back.

How to do it?
The extended side angle pose, a standing pose that improves balance and is energizing, can help counteract the effects of prolonged sitting. It can also improve posture, and boost confidence.

How to do it?
The wide-angled forward bend lengthens the hamstrings and stretches the back, thighs, and calves. It can help you feel more relaxed.

How to do it?
The side stretch pose increases flexibility in the hamstrings and can help open up the hips and spine. A great prep for runners, this pose helps stretch out tight calves and hamstrings before or after a race.

How to do it?
As a beginner, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by Ashtanga yoga — the poses, sequences, and especially the lingo. However, if you stick with it, Ashtanga has a lot to offer both beginners and experienced practitioners.
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The key is to have focus and perseverance. Practicing the aforementioned basic Ashtanga yoga exercises can help you strengthen and tone your body while helping you remain mentally centered. That should help improve your workout and health, and boost your well-being.
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2 thoughts on “What is Ashtanga Yoga? 5 Basic Yoga Exercises to Try – Sportskeeda”

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