The definition of Ashtanga yoga (or “eight-limbed” 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” (Jois 2002 xv).
Upon reading this it’s not entirely clear what the definition really means; however, in practice, Ashtanga is a powerful form of yoga where breath and movement are synchronized and must work together. Consistent practice brings many benefits to the mind, body, and soul.
While many other forms of yoga focus specifically on relaxation and flexibility, Ashtanga seeks to be a more complete workout by building your strength and stamina, as well as your flexibility. A series of aerobic, muscle strengthening poses build your cardiovascular system, aid in weight loss, and keep you toned, lean, and focused.
It’s also said that Ashtanga’s breathing and movement combinations create a warming heat in the bloodstream. This is said to help clean and thin the blood, which increases circulation. Blood can then move more freely throughout the body to help relieve joint pain and remove toxins from internal organs. The body then feels and becomes healthy, light, and strong.
Anyone who’s done Ashtanga can tell you how amazingly energized you feel after a class. It is an intense workout, but regular practice calms the mind, releases tension, fuels the body, and promotes inner peace.
Give it a try any Wednesday evening at 6:30pm.