Ashtanga Yoga is a yoga that teaches the eight limbs of yoga. It focuses on controlling one’s breathing through the movements, controlling the senses by not allowing distractions to interrupt the art, and by deep concentration.
This kind of yoga has roots in morality, meditation and focuses on the asanas or the poses. The purpose of concentrating on the use of the eight limbs in this yoga are to remove from inside the body the things that cause it to be unclean.
The purpose of practicing the asanas within this yoga are to lead the individual into developing a body that’s full of health and strength. When health and strength are present, it’s easier for the mind to concentrate and keep tuned in to the purpose of the yoga movements.
Through the performance of Ashtanga Yoga, the poses are worked in harmony with the breathing. There are specific movements that are done while exhaling and other specific movements that are completed while inhaling.
The movements are correlated to work in conjunction with the breathing to reach a point of attention in the body, which helps to create that bond, that union that yoga is known to help users reach.
The eight limbs of yoga can be done as individual steps apart from one another, but just like the steps in a two-story home, they’re made to help practitioners reach the next level. They work best when achieved in order and in a consistent way.
This style of yoga has a purpose in each of the movements. When used as a form of exercise, you’ll get a tougher workout than you would if you were practicing a more serene form of yoga.
You’ll find the movements of certain styles of yoga to have specific levels for the beginner student, a stronger level for the somewhat experienced and a tougher level for the person who’s been a student of Ashtanga before.
Taking part in Ashtanga Yoga will certainly get your heart rate up. Some users equate it with the same workout that one might find in a workout designed to bring cardiovascular benefits to the body.
If you’re a complete novice to the art of yoga and haven’t yet mastered some of the basic asanas, this kind of yoga is what you want to reach in the future, but not where you should begin.