Ashtanga Yoga - What it is all about
Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic and also challenging yoga style with the aim of connecting movement and breath. Characteristic for this type of yoga is the set sequence of asanas, which will be repeated in the same order every time you practice. The benefit of this is that with practice you will be able to develop an increased sense of body awareness, your mind is able to calm down and relax. There is a total of 6 series, most people, however, practice the first series. Only after completing the first series and mastering all the poses there, the second series will be given. This is also due to the fact that every series has its own focus or challenge. The first series, also called Yoga Chikitsa, for example, strengthens the whole body and the nervous system and thus helps the body to heal on different levels. The second series then effects the nervous system more deeply, cleanses it and helps the energy in the body to flow more easily.
Ashtanga Yoga works because you learn to control your breath. By engaging the so called bandhas or energy locks at the same time when moving in and out and staying calm in postures the body creates inner heat. This heat causes you to sweat and the sweat and heat have a healing and cleansing impact on the joints, the muscles and all the inner organs. It also just makes you feel really well, light and energized after practice.
Ashtanga Yoga requires you to make an effort and stick with it for a little while. As a reward, practicing regularly makes your body flexible and strong and your mind at ease and calm. Here are two famous quotes which may help to underline the benefits of the practice:
"Everybody can practice Ashtanga Yoga, except lazy people!" Sharat Rangaswamy
"99% practice, 1% theory" Pattabhi Jois