As we have discussed in our previous blog post, the benefits of yoga for the mind and the body are numerous, and people should give it a try at some point if they haven’t yet. But there is no one yoga style or school, so it may be difficult to choose which one is the best for you. So it is important to get to know each style available. One of the most popular ones is Ashtanga Yoga, a system that combines a good physical and mental workout with emotional and spiritual balance and well-being.
What is Ashtanga Yoga?
Literally translated as “eight-limbed yoga”, Ashtanga yoga is a system of yoga recorded by the sage Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta, an ancient manuscript "said to contain lists of many different groupings of asanas, as well as highly original teachings on vinyasa, drishti, bandhas, mudras, and philosophy" According to sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, Ashtanga is the path of internal purification for revealing the universal self, and consists of eight spiritual practices, namely:
- Yama or moral codes
- Niyama or self-purification and learning
- Asana or proper posture
- Pranayama or control of breath
- Pratyahara or control of sense
- Dharana or focus
- Dhyana or meditation
- Samadhi or absorption into the Universal
However, as many people will soon find out, practicing the Asana will slowly lead to properly touching the 8 limbs and having a good Ashtanga practice that is physical, mental, and spiritual.
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While there are no unique poses specifically for Ashtanga yoga, the practice follows a strict series of yoga poses that is designed to be progressively harder. It is this strict adherence to the routine that makes Ashtanga unique, as each previous pose is meant to be a preparation for the next pose.
Ashtanga always starts with the Surya Namaskar or the sun salutation, which is followed by 6 standing poses that will be the foundation of the other poses. After this will come a four series, which may vary in difficulty depending, and then finally, the finishing positions.
Due to the difficulty and strictness of the practice, it is very important that Ashtanga is done under the strict supervision of a yoga instructor, to prevent injuries and to make sure that the series is followed correctly.
All the schools of yoga promote flexibility, mental rejuvenation, and openness of the soul, but very few emphasize physical strength and muscle training. This is where Ashtanga stands out. Ashtanga aims to not only make the practitioner calm of mind and peaceful of soul, but also have a strong, toned, controlled body. Because of its weight management and strength building routine, Ashtanga has become a popular choice of not just yoga practitioners, but also athletes looking to augment their sport by adding flexibility and core strength.
Not only that, because of the strict series and fast pace of the pose changes, it also promotes stamina and endurance. And because it only uses body weight, Ashtanga makes the practitioner stronger but not give a bulky look, instead making the practitioner a lean, toned human being.
On the mental and spiritual side, it is a great stress reliever, especially for goal oriented people, as it takes away the mind from thinking about other things and instead makes the practitioner focus on the series of poses, the fast pace, and be determined to achieve the next pose. Mentally, some scientists have discovered that Ashtanga yoga can be beneficial to patients suffering from conditions that involve the brain, like for example, people who have lower back pain that is caused by mental tension.
Try Ashtanga yoga out as soon as you can with your friends! This binaural beats track for yoga practice can help you get started with it.
Simple, pleasant and soothing yoga music embedded with binaural beats and isochronic tones frequencies that are associated with the feeling of well-being and overall balance and harmony. Bring yourself to a stress-free and tranquil ambiance as you do your daily yoga sessions and enjoy those precious moments as you strengthen your core and your mind, body and spirit. Using frequencies from the alpha range of 10Hz, this enhances the release of serotonin and is universally beneficial for your overall health, giving you a sense of being centered, raises your spiritual consciousness, and can even improve memory, relieve headaches and is connected to the Manipura or Solar plexus chakra. With a carrier frequency of 90Hz, this is also ideal as your background relaxation music or for your meditation sessions.
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