Often, people believe there is only a single form of yoga that is practiced for both fitness and meditation purposes. However, there are actually many forms of yoga and each type is distinguished by its aims, the exercises it involves and its benefits. One form of yoga is Ashtanga.
The Origins of Ashtanga Yoga
The word Ashtanga means ‘eight limbs’. This refers to the eight limbs Patanjali outlined in the Yoga Sutra and these include:• Asana- posture• Dharana- concentration• Dhyana- meditation• Niyama- self-purification• Pranayama- breath control• Pratyahara- sense control• Samadhi- absorption into universal• Yama- moral codesSometimes called Ashtanga vinyasa yoga, this is a form of yoga that was developed and taught by K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009). However, the origins of this yoga date back much further than the teachings of K. Pattabhi Jois. The practices of this yoga are outlined in Yoga Kurunta, an ancient Sanskrit text. Early in the twentieth century, the practices were rediscovered by T. Krishnamacharya.
How Ashtanga Yoga Differs From Other Forms of Yoga
In comparison to other forms of yoga, Ashtanga is physical, intense and athletic. While many forms of yoga are static, this is dynamic. The practice contains series of movements that are very precise. Throughout the asanas, those who practice Ashtanga yoga use drishti (gaze) to focus on singular points and (bandhas) locks to channel energy through their bodies.In Ashtanga yoga, it is necessary to use both vinyasa and tristhana to perform asana correctly. Vinyasa is the breathing and movement system. There is one breath for every movement. Tristhana is the union of posture, breathing system and looking place.
What Are the Aims of Ashtanga Yoga?
The aim is to create internal heat and purifying sweat by synchronizing breath and movement. The purpose of this is to benefit both the mind and the body. Ashtanga aims to make the body light and strong while also purifying the internal systems of the body.
The Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga yoga has many benefits to both the body and mind. In general, it is possible to group the health benefits of Ashtanga into four categories; physical, emotional, mental and intellectual.The first physical benefit for those who practice Ashtanga is improved flexibility. This is beneficial for the muscles, joints, and posture. This form of yoga is also good for the circulation and is intended to purify the body, thus leaving it free from disease. This is beneficial to the internal organs of the body and will improve general health. Other physical benefits of this type of yoga include a toned body and good core strength.
Ashtanga yoga helps emotional health by allowing people to differentiate between emotions and feelings. Emotions cause suffering as when a person identifies with them it can have negative results. This is because emotions are based on experiences from the past. On the other hand, feelings are a condition that arises in the present. Yoga helps to remove the old conditioning and allows someone to concentrate on their present feelings rather than past emotions.
You can think of the mind as a computer. It analyzes sensory information and identifies new objects based on past information already stored. If enough information is available, then the mind recognizes new objects or situations. In a sense, this means that past experiences impact on new experiences, and this is potentially limiting. Yoga helps to clear the mind and mental state, allowing a person to experience infinite consciousness and feel alive.
Consciousness and self-awareness are things that exist in a state of eternal perfection. Intellect differs as it is something that grows and evolves over time. According to yoga, everything that evolves is made up of three particles; mass, energy, and information. If intellect focuses on mass then it is dull and if it focuses on energy it is too frenzied. These are both states that will prevent a person from penetrating the truth. Those who practice higher yoga can see the truth and the world as it really is through meditation and visualization.
Overall, Ashtanga yoga has many benefits to both physical, mental, emotional and intellectual health. These health benefits can have a positive impact on all areas of the lives of those who practice Ashtanga yoga