Since the late 1990s, Ashtanga has been considered one of the most popular forms of yoga in the Western world. Ashtanga focuses on a vigorous physical practice that includes a series of postures linked with breathing and movement to form a continuous sequence. The practice demands an intense level of physical strength, flexibility and endurance, so students begin an Ashtanga practice with five repetitions of Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B. This is followed by a series of standing postures, in 5 repetitions, then a set of sitting poses. Once you have mastered these three posture sequences, your instructor will guide you through the advanced series, Advanced A, Advanced B, Advanced C, and D.

There are several key principles that underlie the practice of Ashtanga.

Ujjayi pranayama: This specific breathing technique is used throughout the practice. The victorious breath is a slow audible breathing technique used to warm, energize and increase focus and concentration. Additional pranayama techniques are only taught to advanced students.
2.- Drishti: A specific drishti, or focal point, is used in each asana. This helps create a more focused and meditative practice.
3.-Vinyasa: The core of the practice is synchronizing the breath to the sequence of postures and transitions in the series.
4.-Bandha: The engagement of the bandhas, or body locks, is encouraged throughout the class to seal in the prana energy and create core stability.

What is the purpose of Ashtanga?

The intensive physical processes in Ashtanga are all about pushing through mental blocks, and emotional baggage to cultivate mental clarity, mindful breathing, physical strength, flexibility, and endurance. The structure and frequency of the practice is designed to help you quickly improve your body and overall wellness. The set sequence of posture creates a strong framework that allows one to focus on the inner limbs of the yoga sutras.

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