I’ve heard a lot of people asking if Ashtanga Yoga is good for beginners. The question might be simple, but the answer is more complex. If you’ve ever considered taking up Ashtanga, but aren’t sure about it, perhaps you are one of those people. You may be asking yourself “Is Ashtanga Yoga good for beginners? Is it too hard? Can I do it?” There is no doubt that Ashtanga is an incredibly challenging yoga.
When people ask me if Ashtanga yoga is good for beginners, I need to establish a few things. First of all, there is no right and wrong answer when it comes to the practice of yoga. It doesn’t work that way. However, despite the apparent benefits, there are those who feel that Ashtanga Yoga is, maybe, not the best option for beginners.
There are different types of yoga. In fact, there are so many kinds of yoga that it can be overwhelming to find the right one. Thus, Ashtanga Yoga, as we talked about it here, is a very rigorous fitness workout, involving physical postures and hand-balancing.
Now, is Ashtanga Yoga good for beginners?
There are varying answers to this. The common denominator will be [and rightly so] focus, determination, and fitness level. Hence, one can say that if he or she is determined and have an optimal fitness level, embarking for the first time with Ashtanga yoga can be sustainable for him. Otherwise, it may be not.
Obviously, something like Ashtanga yoga isn’t for everyone. There are plenty of people who don’t have the time or interest and would probably prefer a gentler workout. Yet, if you’re a beginner and looking to expand your horizons, Ashtanga yoga can be a good place to start.
Trying out new forms of exercise is a great way to give yourself a new challenge. You will feel good about your body and what it can do. It can also be a way to meet new people who share your interests and give you access to new resources that you might not otherwise have. If you’re looking for a change, taking the plunge into Ashtanga yoga could be just the thing for you.
As a beginner, you’re not likely to be able to do the series of postures that make up Ashtanga yoga. The regimen calls for mastering a series of poses before moving on to the next and typically takes years to perfect.
Trying it isn’t going to hurt you, but don’t be surprised if you can’t complete even the first series without assistance from an instructor. It’s very demanding, and not for beginners.
What is ashtanga yoga?
When you ask professionals or yoga teachers what is ashtanga yoga, they may tell you that it is a form of yoga that is practiced intensely. While this answer is technically correct, it doesn’t really tell the whole story of this demanding exercise.
Trying to describe exactly what is Ashtanga Yoga can be difficult for several reasons. First, there are different styles and interpretations of the same. Second, even within one style, the methods vary from teacher to teacher.
Basically, when asking “what is ashtanga yoga”, people are referring to the lineage founded by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This system includes six series of poses (or “primary,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” series) and three types of breathing exercises (or pranayama).
The goal of this path is to remove distractions from your life so that you can live in peace at any time. This involves improving your focus and bringing your body into balance through physical practice, while simultaneously honing your mind through meditation and self-reflection.
Ashtanga yoga focuses on the postures, breathing, and meditation. It is often referred to as Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, or just Yoga. The word “Ashtanga” literally translates as “eight limbs”. It refers to the eight directives or principles upon which ashtanga discipline is based. Here are those:
- Yama (moral code)
- Niyama (observances)
- Asana (postures)
- Pranayama (breath work)
- Pratyahara (sense withdrawal)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation), and
- Samadhi (oneness)
Ashtanga Yoga is a fast-paced and physically demanding regimen that consists of synchronizing breath with movement. A typical ashtanga class includes vigorous vinyasa movements and set sequences of postures or asanas.
Each posture is held for three to five breaths before transitioning into the next asanas. Ashtanga executions are anchored on alignment principles. They have been divided into four categories: standing, seated, forward bends, and backward bends.
Stretching is an integral part of an ashtanga practice. Advanced practitioners may hold challenging postures for several minutes while they gaze at their toes to maximize their stretch.
Beginners should give Ashtanga Yoga a try
The primary reason why Ashtanga Yoga is so popular among beginners is that it is a physically demanding form of yoga. Therefore, if you are just beginning your practice, you will find that you can rely on its physically challenging nature to push yourself further and further in your practice every time you go to class. Thus, you are motivated by the challenge.
Ashtanga Yoga is a great choice for beginners looking to get into the practice of yoga. Ashtanga Yoga Institute was established by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in the year 1948, and Ashtanga Yoga is one of the most popular styles practiced today.
As you go along, Ashtanga Yoga tends to be quite vigorous, which makes it an excellent choice for those who are interested in losing weight or toning muscles.
Some say, if you are just getting started with yoga, it is often difficult to push yourself as hard as you would like because you can become easily discouraged from your own lack of focus and stamina.
Nevertheless, this may not be the case with Ashtanga Yoga, especially for those who are determined and focused, because it requires so much physical exertion that even the most ambitious beginner will have no problem finding motivation to push their body beyond its normal limits.
Get educated and watch your practice grow
Ashtanga yoga centers on a series of different postures that are done in a specific order. The latter is based on the number of breaths taken between postures. The breathing exercises are also essential to the practice. The focus is on the breath and coordinating the movement with it.
How Do I Practice Ashtanga Yoga?
Considering the pattern, sequence, and order of executions, this form of yoga will allow you to maintain your focus, as you will be repeatedly returning to each posture before moving on to the next one.
It allows you to synchronize your movement with your breathing, which is an important part of the practice. Sometimes referred to as vinyasa yoga, asanas are performed in rapid succession, with one flow following another until the entire sequence is finished.
There are six series of postures that make up ashtanga yoga: primary, intermediate, advanced A, advanced B, advance C, and primary series II. Each series has five levels, which will increase in difficulty as you harness yourself through them. Within each level are four different groups of postures that get progressively more difficult as well.
How to practice ashtanga yoga at home?
Ashtanga is an intense and physically demanding series of poses. It is also a system of yoga that allows you to gauge your improvement by the number of sun salutations you can perform.
Trying to practice ashtanga at home can be challenging. Without a teacher as your guide, it will be hard to know how to proceed with the set sequence of poses or you will become frustrated for lack of feedback. Here are some tips for practicing at home:
Finding a Sequence
Because ashtanga yoga is a set sequence of poses, it will help you when find written instructions once you’ve learned the basics. You can find the directions and guides in books or online. Simply follow the methods, being sure to work through each pose in order.
A Place to Practice Without Distraction
Ashtanga yoga requires concentration and focus on breathing. You’ll need a quiet place at home where you won’t be distracted by television or other people around you.
Consider shutting off your phone or at least putting it on silent mode so that you’re not tempted to check for messages during your practice.
An Appropriate Yoga Mat for Your Flooring
Ashtanga, as earlier intimated, is an intense physical exercise but most of the moves involve floor sequence. If you love practicing Ashtanga yoga at home, you might want to choose the best yoga mat.
You need a yoga mat for flooring that has good absorption capacity and will not leave your bare feet feeling sweaty.
A good yoga mat will also be thick enough to support you during each of your poses so that you are not at risk for injury.
Ashtanga yoga body transformation
The Ashtanga yoga body is based on the principle that you can look like a supermodel, if you are willing to work hard. In other words, it’s not about being skinny or pretty, it’s about having a strong, agile body that is also lean and flexible.
The Ashtanga yoga body is not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication and consistency to master. These yoga poses are not just physically challenging; they require great mental discipline as well.
To achieve an Ashtanga yoga body, you need to be willing to practice yoga every day, at least five days a week and ideally six days a week. The more you do it, the better your results will be.
Even though an Ashtanga yoga body isn’t necessarily skinny, you should see progress in how your clothes fit after practicing for just a few months.
Ashtanga yoga is often referred to as the “hard style” of yoga because it relies on physically demanding poses and movement sequences that are intended to build strength, flexibility and endurance.
Ashtanga yoga takeaways
Regular ashtanga yoga reduces stress levels, strengthens muscles and improves flexibility over time.Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga | Concept of Ashtanga Yoga: Its Background & Styles A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that regular ashtanga yoga can also reduce anxiety.
People who suffer from depression may benefit from practicing Ashtanga Yoga because it can improve moods and reduce feelings of sadness.
Taught in a series of a number of sequential postures, Ashtanga yoga arises also from the principle that the breath and body are intimately connected. The physical practice leads to increased awareness of the body’s true nature and a sense of calm that pervades both body and mind.
The yoga practice is designed to synchronize breath with movement, resulting in improved posture, strength, and flexibility. Because Ashtanga Yoga is so physically challenging, practitioners quickly develop mental control as they work toward mastering their bodies and the synchronized movements.
As a result of this demanding practice, Ashtanga Yoga practitioners enjoy benefits such as relief from stress-related illnesses such as asthma, allergies, hypertension and high blood pressure.
Ashtanga yoga also strengthens the immune system and helps release tension in the muscles, joints and internal organs while improving digestion. This can help speed recovery from injury or illness.
On the other hand, why Ashtanga Yoga will not be good for beginners?
Briefly though, Ashtanga is a great yoga practice, but may be not so good for beginners. The pace is too fast to allow them to master the fundamental elements of the asanas in a short period of time. Intense stretches unusual balancing are forthcoming always during session.
One teacher of Ashtanga commented that most of his students were unable to progress because they were focusing on trying to follow him, rather than focusing on their own practice.
To achieve this level of proficiency, a student must be able to concentrate fully on their asanas, seeing them purely in terms of form and function. The student must also be, and preferably, on an above average fitness level.
They must forget about the moves in relation to the rest of the class and concentrate instead on making each movement perfect by itself. Only when the student can do this will they be able to learn the more complex links between movements.
Ashtanga is an intense style of yoga. As such, it is not for everyone. If you are ready for the challenge, though, Ashtanga can be great. As with any exercise regimen that requires you to take the time, commitment and focus to complete.
It can help you set goals and achieve them. You must adhere to ashtanga sequence. You must find the best guidance what posture might be suitable for your current condition or where you are in your fitness level.
For a lot of beginners, Ashtanga yoga is a great style to start out with. The first and foremost reason being that it focuses primarily on poses. Some would say doing poses is what defines the ‘physical’ practice of yoga.
If this is something you intend to do regularly, it’s important that you might begin building proper habits from the very beginning. On the other hand, if this is just an exercise routine for you, then perhaps something else would be better suited for your fitness and health goals.
Nonetheless, it would be better to ask someone like your doctor or a fitness expert than a Yoga teacher. If you don’t have access to such resources, the best you can hope for is anecdotal evidence from others who have tried it.