Strength and grace – words that describe Aṣṭāṅga (Ashtanga) Yoga.
I smile as I write these words! I was a dedicated Ashtanga practitioner for many years and never felt stronger or more comfortable in my own body.
Ashtanga asana moves your body towards flexibility, grace, and strength. We learn how to link the breath to movements both in a posture and moving between postures. The breath sets the rhythm of the practice which is elevates the experience to a beautiful moving meditation.
The Ashtanga Yoga method follows classic yogic teachings. Ashtanga, meaning “eight limbed,” outlines eight aspects of a lifestyle which is a road map to a healthy, peaceful life. The road map is simple to understand but far from easy! The limbs include moral and ethical codes (yimas and niyamas), postures (asana), breathing exercises (pranayama), and four stages of meditation.
Tim Feldmann writes that Ashtanga “explores flexibility, vigor and tranquility as an integrated synergy, requiring higher levels of humility and dedication. Each series of postures must be accomplished before proceeding to the next. The practice is cumulative and it is essential to follow the order of postures (asanas) meticulously as each individual asana builds on the previous one and prepares practitioners for the next. The sequential process of learning Ashtanga Yoga allows its practitioners to develop the concentration, strength, flexibility and stamina needed to progress in a safe and balanced manner…The result is a light and strong body.”
Want more? Here is my favorite Ashtanga Yoga website and here is my favorite book. Be sure to get the spiral bound book so you can lay it flat on the ground to easily read while practicing. Here is a wonderful Facebook group for home practitioners.
Meet me at Underground Yoga Studio for classes during the month of September. Together we will learn Yoga’s Ashtanga based foundation and how it applies to postures, health, and life! Considered a vigorous practice, it is easily adapted to all levels from beginner to advanced. Bonus – we will chant the Ashtanga opening and closing mantra (call and response or simply listen). The opening chant honors the Yogic tradition and the closing chant focuses on striving for peace. Simply wonderful!
Om Shanti, friends. Stay awesome.