Ashtanga: The Most Challenging Yoga StyleAshtanga Yoga, also known as Eight-Limbed Yoga, is a physically demanding practice that is considered to be one of the most challenging types of yoga out there. It requires practitioners to follow a strict series of postures, each one flowing seamlessly into the next, while focusing on deep breathing and meditation. Ashtanga Yoga isn’t for everyone, but those who are dedicated to the practice can experience incredible physical and mental benefits.
Ashtanga: Where Discipline Meets the MatOne of the main reasons why Ashtanga Yoga is so challenging is because it demands a high level of discipline from its practitioners. In traditional Ashtanga Yoga, the same series of postures is repeated in the exact same order every time, and practitioners are expected to memorize each individual posture and transition. This requires a great deal of mental focus and physical strength, and it can take years of dedicated practice to truly master the practice.
Patience and Persistence Needed: Ashtanga YogaAnother key aspect of Ashtanga Yoga is the importance of patience and persistence. Because the practice is so rigorous and demanding, it can be easy to become frustrated or discouraged if progress feels slow. Practitioners must learn to be patient with themselves, knowing that progress will come with time and dedicated practice. Persistence is also key; even when faced with challenges or setbacks, those who are dedicated to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga must push through and continue to show up on the mat every day.
The Rigorous Ashtanga Yoga PracticeAshtanga Yoga is made up of a series of six different sequences, each one building on the previous one. The first sequence, known as the Primary Series, is the most well-known and rigorous of the six. The Primary Series contains over 70 different postures, each flowing into the next in a set order. The other sequences are more advanced and build on the strength and flexibility gained from the previous sequences.
Some of the postures included in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series include:
- Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar A and B)
- Standing Postures (such as Triangle, Warrior I, and Warrior II)
- Seated Postures (such as Paschimottanasana and Janu Sirsasana)
- Backbends (such as Upward-Facing Dog and Camel)
- Inversions (such as Shoulder Stand and Headstand)