Updated: Sep 11
Ashtanga Yoga, often referred to as the "Eight-Limbed Yoga," is a dynamic and transformative yoga practice that holds a special place in the world of yoga. Rooted in ancient Indian philosophy, Ashtanga Yoga offers a structured path to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the origins, principles, and profound benefits of Ashtanga Yoga.
The Origins of Ashtanga Yoga:
Ashtanga Yoga has its origins in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, an ancient Indian text dating back over 2,000 years. The term "Ashtanga" is derived from the Sanskrit words "ashta" (eight) and "anga" (limbs), reflecting the comprehensive nature of this yoga system.
1. Sage Patanjali's Guidance:
The sage Patanjali laid the foundation for Ashtanga Yoga in his Yoga Sutras. This eight-fold path serves as a guide to living a purposeful and meaningful life, with yoga as a central component.
Principles of Ashtanga Yoga:
Ashtanga Yoga is distinguished by its structured and rigorous approach to practice:
1. Eight Limbs: Ashtanga Yoga consists of eight interconnected limbs, each building upon the previous one. These limbs include ethical principles (yamas and niyamas), physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), and meditation (dhyana), among others.
2. Vinyasa and Breath: A hallmark of Ashtanga Yoga is the synchronization of breath (pranayama) with specific movement sequences (vinyasa). This rhythmic flow generates internal heat, purifies the body, and calms the mind.
3. Set Sequence: Ashtanga Yoga follows a specific sequence of poses, divided into Primary, Intermediate, and Advanced series. Practitioners progress through these series gradually, under the guidance of a qualified teacher.
Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga:
The practice of Ashtanga Yoga offers a wide array of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits:
1. Physical Strength and Flexibility: The dynamic asana sequences in Ashtanga Yoga build strength, flexibility, and stamina.
2. Focus and Discipline: The structured nature of Ashtanga cultivates mental discipline and concentration, which can be applied to daily life.
3. Stress Reduction: The combination of movement, breath, and meditation promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
4. Detoxification: Sweating and deep breathing in Ashtanga practice help eliminate toxins from the body.
5. Spiritual Growth: The eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga provide a spiritual framework for self-realization and inner peace.
Ashtanga Yoga is a profound and holistic practice that guides practitioners toward physical vitality, mental clarity, and spiritual awakening. Whether you are drawn to the dynamic flow of the sequences or the philosophical depth of the eight limbs, Ashtanga Yoga has something to offer for everyone on the path to self-discovery and well-being. As you delve into this ancient tradition, remember that the true essence of Ashtanga lies not just in mastering poses, but in the transformative journey it offers—a journey towards a balanced and harmonious life.
Ashtanga at Sarvanga:
You will find our Ashtanga classes lead by Sean at 6:45am on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Plus regular workshops inviting you to dive deeper into this powerful practice. See our Classes page to book.