Ashtanga Yoga Basic Information

Ashtanga Yoga, also known as Power Yoga or Vinyasa Yoga is a Yoga Style designed by K. Pattabhi Jois. The name Ashtanga Yoga actually means eight limbed yoga. This name is apt since there are eight different “points” or goals of this practice.

This form of Yoga concentrates on combining movement and careful breathing, much like most of the other forms. The difference here, however, is the spiritual emphasis and also the fact that the moves flow smoothly one into another. The poses are also held for increasing amounts of time as more skill and stamina is earned through devoted practice. 

This Ashtanga Yoga Style isn’t all about doing the moves perfectly, however. It’s more about reaching spiritual peace and enlightenment and also learning to appreciate the beauty of the poses and even the beauty of the mistakes made along the way. It is about connecting the body and the spirit together in a deep and meaningful way.

While practicing Ashtanga Yoga, certain movements are repeated in between each different pose or movement. Those practicing the exercise are encouraged to breathe deeply and fully on each inhale and exhale. The breaths are carefully aligned with the movements in this Yoga Style, allowing practitioners to reach a state of peace and concentration. 

The eight points of Power Yoga, as mentioned above include following::

  1. certain moral rules or codes
  2. being dedicated to the practice of yoga and to purifying the body
  3. practicing good posture
  4. taking control of one’s breathing
  5. taking control of one’s senses
  6. doing every movement and every action with intention and purpose
  7. meditating
  8. taking the time to contemplate one’s actions throughout the day in order to make self assessments

In Ashtanga Yoga, it is considered very important to practice regularly. That is because Ashtanga Yoga is considered a lifestyle and not just a form of exercise. However, people who practice Power Yoga will be happy to know that the practice allows for people to learn at their own pace, moving and growing as they see comfortable. 

There are no strict rules about how long an Ashtanga Yoga session must last and no emphasis on reaching set physical goals within a pre determined amount of time. Thus, Power Yoga is great for those who want a lot of freedom and personal space.

To begin practicing Ashtanga Yoga, it is highly advisable to go to a professional yoga study that specializes in different forms of Power Yoga. If a person doesn’t feel comfortable with this, however, there are lots of DVDs and other instructional products that can teach a person how to do yoga from the comfort of their own home. All it really takes to become skilled at Power Yoga is personal devotion, a willingness to learn, and an open mind and heart.

    “Only when we accept and forgive all that is or has been the good, the bad, and the ugly of our human lives can we get off the guilt trip and back into the flow. That means we must love our humanness and all of our failings; we must accept, learn from, and yes, even love our mistakes.” ~ Sonia Choquette