Can Ashtanga Yoga Be Suited For Beginners? Understanding Ashtanga Yoga For Beginners

by | Strength Building, Yoga

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Ashtanga Yoga For Beginners:

When you want to bring some intensity to your yoga practice, consider attending an Ashtanga Yoga class. But, what if you’re new to yoga? Is Ashtanga Yoga for beginners? Let’s get a better understanding of Ashtanga Yoga to decide if this is the best yoga practice for you.

understanding ashtanga yoga for beginners

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We will explore the following in this article:

  • What is Ashtanga Yoga?
  • A Brief History of Ashtanga Yoga
  • Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga
  • Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners
  • Modified Ashtanga Yoga Postures

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic and highly-structured vinyasa (flow) style of yoga. Like Bikram Yoga, it consists of a set order of yoga postures the yogi practices each time they step onto their yoga mats.

The class usually begins with a warm-up series of Sun Salutations. It then progresses into advanced yoga sequences consisting of standing poses, seated poses, and a closing sequence.

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Brief History of Ashtanga Yoga:

This style of yoga was first created by T. Krishnamacharya, but later curated by his student, K.Pattabhi Jois in the early 20th century. The set order of yoga postures and sequences was created to purify the body and stimulate overall well-being.

It’s name comes from two Sanskrit words: “ashta” meaning “eight” and “anga” meaning “limb.” The practice acts as a unification of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. These limbs are the foundations of the yoga philosophy. These foundations can be found in ancient yoga texts including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Pattabhi Jois formed the Ashtanga Yoga School as a means to integrate the philosophical branches of yoga into a physically intensive practice. Ashtanga Yoga later become popular in Western culture in the late 1990s as a vigorous form of physical exercise.

Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga:

There are several benefits to practicing Ashtanga Yoga. Some include:

  • Build Physical Strength: due to the challenging postures, you will build muscle strength from consistent practice.
  • Increase Flexibility: due to the folds, bends, and twists in this practice, over time you will generate greater flexibility in your entire body.
  • Improved Endurance & Discipline: not only will you build physical strength, but you will learn endurance and discipline. This is a practice that requires patience and fortitude.
  • Enhance Physical, Mental, & Spiritual Well-Being: since Ashtanga is a physical adaptation of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, it is designed to positively benefit your overall health and well-being.

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Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners:

Since Ashtanga Yoga is a vigorous and dynamic style of yoga, the question remains: is it suitable for beginners? If you have an interest in this form of yoga and you want to reap the benefits of this practice, you may consider giving it a try. But remember, this is a stylized practice that requires patience, diligence, and consistency. It does contain challenging postures and sequences that will take a good amount of time to achieve effectively.

As a new yoga practitioner, however, there are ways in which you can begin an Ashtanga Yoga practice. Like other styles of yoga, you can modify the postures and the pace at which you practice, and reduce the intensity to suit your needs and abilities.

If you’re familiar with and have practiced the Sun Salutation, then you’re already doing Ashtanga Yoga. Sun Salutation is embedded into the Ashtanga Yoga series. The Sun Salutation (Series A and Series B) are vinyasa movements that act as an opening warm-up sequence when you begin your Ashtanga practice.

The Sun Salutation also acts as a transition among various postures throughout the Ashtanga Yoga practice.

Here are the poses within the Sun Salutation Series B to get you started:

When you move through this entire sequence five times, you will experience some of the initial benefits of this dynamic yoga practice. If you’re intrigued by this classic style of yoga, give Ashtanga Yoga a try.

Final Thoughts!

Even if you’re a beginner, you can always modify poses, move at your own pace and ability, and perhaps start with the Sun Salutations. You will be amazed at how your body, mind, and spirit benefit from this dynamic form of yoga.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you use them to purchase items, then we may earn a small commission. Hope you find something that you like!
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