Asanas or poses is the third and the most important limb of the eight limbed yoga system know as Ashtanga Yoga. The practice of Ashtanga yoga poses relies on linking postures through various movements in between (Vinyasa), along with controlled breathing, and eye gazing (drishti) on prescribed focus points.
Vinyasa movements improves the blood flow and speeds up your metabolism.
Deep breathing supplies pure oxygen to your blood and removes unwanted toxins from your lungs. As a result, internal heat and sweat is produced which removes impurities and toxins through the skin.
Drishti or Gazing points are focus points which help you look both inwards and outwards. They help with dhyana or meditation so as to give you a steady mind.
Poses/ Asanas are practiced for right posture, firm balance, fit body, healthy system and a stable mind.
But remember, poses are not the ultimate goal of yoga. An asana as a whole is a state of enlightenment that you can only reach by proper training and regular practice.
So, don’t try to get too savvy too early. Be very observant of every move you make because control is what we’re looking for initially.
We’ll start with the primary series since that’s where you’ll be starting from. Remember, it’s a strict structure? Set series, set sequence? No clues? No issues. You can find out more about the famed fixed sequence of Ashtanga Yoga in this other post “Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series”.
Let’s get to it.
Poses or Asanas in Ashtanga Yoga
Standing Poses benefit your entire body starting with your arms, shoulders, lower back, middle back, upper back, feet, ankles, hamstrings, hips, neck, chest, psoas, quadriceps, knees, pelvic, spine, biceps, triceps and core.
2. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations A & B
Greeting the sun is an ancient practice that can be seen in many cultures across the globe. By saluting the sun,
- You’re welcoming a new day
- Getting ready for the session
- Heating up your body
- Toning up your muscles
- Boosting your respiration and cardiac rhythm
- Realigning your movement with breath
- Unifying your mind, body and soul
Seated Poses work on your legs, lower back, upper back, core, hips, pelvic, spine, hamstrings, neck, arms, shoulders, psoas, quadriceps, feet, ankles, knees, belly, biceps, triceps, wrists, lower traps and chest
Finishing Poses target your arms, biceps, triceps, shoulders, spine, lower back, middle back, upper back, neck, core, hamstrings, hips, pelvic, trunk, chest, quadriceps, ankle, knees and thighs.
The primary series of Ashtanga Yoga is called Yoga therapy for apparent reasons. This sequence has to be carried out in the prescribed order (as mentioned in this post) without toying around with it.
Once you’ve learned, practiced and mastered all these poses in the right sequence, you can move on to the intermediate series. Or you can keep up with the primary series and still experience something new every time you practice it.
To further understand Ashtanga Yoga, you can get yourself the best-selling book The Power of Ashtanga Yoga. This in-depth user guide will help you practice Ashtanga Yoga poses efficiently for strength, flexibility and inner peace.