Ashtanga Yoga - Path To Inner Purity

Ashtanga, literally meaning eight limbs, is a special form of yoga that is derived from Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. However, the modern form of Ashtanga utilizes the yoga postures taken from Yoga Korunta which offers a new insight to the hatha yoga originally developed by Vamana Rishi. In recent times, the name that is associated with Ashtanga yoga is K. Pttabhi Jois who has devoted much of his learning of yoga to spread the awareness and spirituality intrinsic in this form of yoga.

The poses taught by Ashtanga yoga are mainly divided into six different series that are considered to be traditional styles. The primary series is known as Yoga Chikitsa or the yoga therapy. The poses of this series are to align the body, detoxify it, and bring in flexibility, strength, and stamina. This stage usually offers the 75 postures that start with sun salutations and various other poses that can be moving, standing, inverting, and back-bending positions. The first phase usually ends with relaxation techniques.

The second series is termed Nadi Shodhana that emphasizes on purifying the subtle channels inside the body. This series is usually important as it focuses on cleaning and detoxifying the nervous system. However, this phase is introduced after one masters the first phase. Though there are various similar positions as in the first phase, some new postures are introduced in this phase.

Apart from these two stages, there are four advanced stages of postures that are termed as Sthira Bhaga. It means ultimate stability and includes difficult arm balancing techniques that are suitable to the most advanced learners. It used to be two phases in original but Jois divided it into four stages so that more people can be brought into the advanced stages.

The Ashtanga Yoga classes can either be instructed or self-learned. The instructed phase usually includes the two basic stages that need intervention of the experts. However, once these stages are taught, the students can self-learn the postures. However, the practice of these stages may also need some expert advice, and hence, it is advisable to learn them under the supervision of an instructor. However, after understanding the basics and practicing them for some time, the learners can practice the postures at home. This brings in the flexibility in learning that many learners desire. It is also a major factor behind the extreme popularity of this style of Yoga.

Being a vigorous and athletic form of yoga, it is the favored type of yoga for many learners. It is ideal for those who seek self-learning and are interested in learning the postures that give a feeling of doing something new. However, many people with differing goals have also started to accept Ashtanga as their favorite style.

The popularity and reputation of Ashtanga yoga seems to be growing with time. The major reason for this is the flexibility and the healing quality of this special form of yoga. Due to the growing popularity, especially in the west, Ashtanga Yoga is taught in almost all schools of yoga. It offers a major reason to boost the practice of Ashtanga Yoga for the purification of the body and a happier and healthier living.