Become an Ashtangi
Let’s Practice Ashtanga Yoga
By: Manmohan Singh, Yoga Teacher
Many people admit that the idea of undertaking the Mysore style practice of Ashtanga yoga (a certain way of teaching yoga within the Ashanga Yoga tradition taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India) is quite intimidating. They have many fears and agitation that they won’t be able to master the sequence, will not be good enough in performing the postures with correct alignment, and so much more. But, once they muster the courage to take up the Ashtanga yoga practice and to be an Ashtangi, there is no looking back. They vehemently speak that the study and practice of Ashtanga yoga have been a life-renewing experience for them in many ways. From physical strength to peaceful mind and emotional solidity, an Ashtangi enjoys an overall improved well-being.
Ashtanga yoga in its traditional form, as codified by Sri.K.Pattabhi Jois, involves long sequences of yoga postures with vinyasa in between each. The practice of Ashtanga yoga demands high commitment and strength, especially in a hot room with other sweaty practitioners. Having said this, it is one of the cleansing, healing practices that rewards the practitioner with a balanced body, mind, and soul.
Consider taking up the art of Ashtanga yoga…here are the reasons why you should:
- Builds Incredible Strength and Stamina: The traditional science of Ashtanga yoga consists of exemplary and thoughtful transitions that other styles lack. The four series are arranged to create strength and to open up the body efficiently. The holding of yoga postures for a prolonged duration results in the strengthening of the muscles and allows the mental body to create newer pathways of awareness.
- Amplifies Flexibility: Ashtanga yoga is a natural and effectual way of improving one’s flexibility. Each series in Ashtanga yoga begins with the sun salutation that strengthens the core and the dynamic movements interlinked with the breath enhance tissue elasticity, develop muscle strength that greatly elevates flexibility.
- Better Discipline: Commit to the Ashtanga yoga practice on a regular basis and learn the meaning of discipline in a visceral sense. Inner discipline is the route to the state of Samadhi– a condition where a practitioner develops higher consciousness through meditation and experiences absolute divinity. If you cannot discipline the body, it is impossible to control the mind, and only with the regulation of the mind, you can reach a place of true stillness and solitude.
- Connect with the breath and inner world: The Mysore style of yoga–Ashtanga can be practiced at one’s own pace making it more beautiful and unique. When the practitioners start the practice at their own pace and convenience, they are able to focus on their breath, body, and mind without being distracted by the external forces. It provides them the opportunity to dig, explore and connect with their inner being.
- Good for Your Heart: It is a proven fact the science of yoga promotes better heart health and Ashtanga yoga is no exception. A physically challenging practice that involves many vinyasas which makes you sweat profusely, lowers blood pressure, keeps the heart rate up and promotes cardiovascular fitness.
- Promotes Weight Loss: If a flabby stomach and undesirable weight on certain areas of the body is your major concern, then turn towards the practice of Ashtanga yoga. The practice of forwarding bend postures, twisting yoga asanas effectively reduce fat from the stomach, arms, and hips. Also, daily practice of Ashtanga yoga increases mind-body awareness helping you to make conscious and healthy food choices and results in weight loss.
- Stress Buster: In a time where most of us live in the spectrum anxiety and depression, we need a simple reminder to breathe. Ashtanga yoga involves the practice of Ujjayi breathing. This victorious breath provides mystical benefits, including purification of the air consumed in through the nostrils, strengthening of the metabolic process, and relieving stress.
- Increases Focus: When you feel your focus is wavering, roll out the yoga mat and practice some Ashtanga yoga postures. The practice of Ashtanga yoga asanas linked with breathing techniques makes the practice a form of moving meditation that leaves you stress-free. When the mind is calm, you are able to concentrate on important tasks effectively.
- Strengthens internal organs: The Ashtanga yoga consists of diverse yoga postures such as head-to-feet-pose, boat pose, seated forward bend pose and many other yoga asanas that vigorously stimulate the circulation, strengthen the digestive system, massage the abdominal muscles, benefit the liver, spleen, and aid in better functioning of the internal organs for a healthy living.
- Treatment for Back Pain: Constant sitting on the desk for prolonged hours, inactive lifestyle and several medical issues give rise to a backache and associated problems. The Ashtanga yoga is a safe, cost-effective, and powerful method for treating a backache. The practice of Ashtanga yoga tones the muscles, strengthens the back, re-aligns the spine, aids in better posture and offers relief from a chronic backache.
- Savor Health and Happiness: According to Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, the codifier of Ashtanga yoga, the practitioners are supposed to practice Ashtanga yoga postures six days a week. A dedicated, regular six-day practice rewards the performers with health, vitality, exuberance and harmonized soul. Stay fit, supple and young with Ashtanga yoga.
Relax, live a healthy life, embrace your highest nature, and so much more with Ashtanga yoga.
Author Bio: Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India. He loves writing and reading the books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas. For more information about him visit his website.