Ashtanga Yoga is a beautiful, soft and feminine practice when the fundamentals of pranayama (breath control) are the primary focus of the practice
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, also known as eight-limbed Yoga, is a system of Yoga postures which was designed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This type of Yoga practice is ideal for those individuals who want to see their progress over time and regular practice, as the series of postures are progressive. It is really important to perform the Asanas, or Yoga Postures, in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga correctly, in order to aim for proper alignment and enjoy greater benefits to both body and mind.
The practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is focused on proper breathing which must be synchronized with the movement of the Yoga poses in Ashtanga, which is known as Vinyasa. Vinyasa refers to the breathing and movement system, which means that there is one breath for each movement. It is important to be mindful with each breath that a Yoga practitioner takes during his practice, as the breath is really important when it comes to controlling the mind and body, and also to keeping the practice smooth and serene.
Basic Ashtanga Yoga Pose:
Ashtanga Yoga benefits body, mind and spirit. It is a challenging series that purifies, strengthens, detoxifies and aligns the body, combining the benefits of Yoga and Exercise.
Downward Facing Dog
To do the most well-known of the yoga poses, come down on your hands and knees. Your knees have to be placed exactly below the hip joint and your hands have to be placed a little ahead of the shoulders. Make sure your fingers are pointing forward and are spread out. Exhale and lift up, curl the toes under, extend your arms and your legs. Your tailbone should be pointing to the sky. When you are into the position, make sure you are not collapsing in your shoulders. You should be looking behind with your head placed between the upper arms. This pose will be used in a number of other poses as well.
Side Plank Pose
Go into downward facing dog and gradually rotate on the ball of the left foot and place your right foot either in front of you or stack it up on the left foot. Now gradually lift your right hand off the floor and place it either on your hips or extend it up in the air. The weight of the body has to be supported on the outer edge of the left foot and left hand. When you are doing this yoga pose, make sure your hands are placed a little ahead than they are in the normal downward facing dog pose. To come out of the position, release the leg and place it next to the left foot and place your right hand below your shoulder joint.
Full Boat Pose
This is a seated yoga pose. Sit on the floor with your legs extended out straight. Place your hands behind you, but at a little distance. Now gradually shift your weight onto your hands, as you lean on them. Exhale as you bend your knees and lift your feet of the floor. Gradually extend your legs out straight in the air and throw your hands in front of you, as you balance your weight on the sit bones and the tailbone. Hold the position for as long as you can. Slowly place your hands behind and lower your legs to come out of the position.
This is one of the most relaxing, yet one of the most active of the yoga poses. Lie on your yoga mat in a supine position. Bend your knees and place your feet at about half feet distance from your buttocks. To check if the feet have been placed properly, try to touch the heel of the legs with your hands. If you are able to touch the heel, then it is a sign that the feet are placed properly. Exhale, press onto the ball of the feet and lift your buttocks off the floor. Now gradually bring the hands closer to one another and interlace the fingers. When you are in this pose, your thighs should be kind of parallel to the floor. If you feel pressure in your knee joint, press into your legs and contract the buttock muscles. Release your hands and slowly come out of the pose.
Lie on your mat in a supine position with the legs extended out straight. Place your hands under your torso and interlace your fingers. Lift your legs off the floor and try to reach them behind your head. Once you are into the position, your torso should be perpendicular to the floor. Continue to press your hands into the floor for added support. To come out of the pose, lift your legs off the floor and extend them out straight, as you lower them gradually.