Ashtanga Yoga, as taught by Pattabhi Jois, consists of six series of yoga postures ranging from beginner to advanced. Ashtanga yoga series (primary, intermediate, and four advanced series) prescribed a sequence of poses and is taught in a similar manner throughout the world. Traditionally all series end with the same finishing sequence. When you master one pose, you can move on to the next one.
The reality of Ashtanga yoga is that this style of yoga is actually very difficult, it requires dedication and patience to practice. The full primary series can take at least 90 minutes to perform. Preparation for the Astanga yoga primary series begins with yoga breathing exercises followed by just two or three Surya Namaskars engaging the core.
Six Ashtanga Yoga Series Are:
Primary Ashtanga Yoga Series: Yoga Chikitsa, Yoga for Health or Yoga Therapy
Intermediate Ashtanga Yoga Series: Nadi Shodhana, Nerve Purifier (also known as the second series)
Advanced Ashtanga Yoga Series: Steady Run, Power Concentration
Advanced A, or Third Series
Advanced B, or Fourth Series
Advanced C, or Fifth Series
Advanced D, or Sixth Series
Keep going and breathing for a challenging Ashtanga Yoga Series.
There were originally four series on the Ashtanga yoga: Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, and Advanced B. The fifth series was the “Rishi series”, which Pattabhi Jois said could be done once a practitioner had “mastered” these four.
What is Primary Series in Ashtanga Yoga?
The Sanskrit name for the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series is “Yoga Chikitsa ” because the asanas in this series have therapeutic effects on the body and mind. This is the basic practice of Ashtanga yoga in which various asanas are practiced in a systematic manner. It is the basis of all subsequent series of 41 asanas.
The primary Ashtanga yoga sequence is called Vinyasa. Vinyasas are the flow sequences of each of the twinning movements. seat with the next. Also, modern Vinyasa yoga coordinates the breath with the Vinyasa transition movements between asanas.
It is this series that is learned first, the first, and is considered the basis of the remaining five Ashtanga Vinyasa Series. However, it is the most difficult to perform.
Traditionally Primary Series is always practiced in a specific sequence and taught in the Mysore style, with the teacher giving them a new pose when they feel they are ready.
The yoga asana that forms the Ashtanga yoga primary series is excellent for promoting emotional, energetic, and spiritual healing. Although Ashtanga can make you fit, it has its origins in a deep spiritual practice with enlightenment as to its origin.
The primary series begins with a forward bend, then incorporates poses such as twists and hip openers, with a vinyasa between each asana. You use consistent yoga poses and an engaged core as you stretch, stretch and strengthen the pecs, quads, hamstrings, spine, abs, calves, shoulders, wrists, and ankles. The series is a full-body, dynamic workout.
Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series Sequence
There are four types of poses in the primary series of Ashtanga yoga. They are standing, sitting, a final sequence, and the last three asanas. Each session begins with five rounds of Surya Namaskar A and Surya Namaskar B.
The primary series ends with three postures, consisting of 49 asanas and 35 vinyasas.
Opening mantra in primary series sequence
Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series Sequence starts with an opening mantra:
Vande Gurunam Charanaravinde
Sandarshita Svatma Sukava Bodhe
Nih Sreyase Jangalikayamane
Samsara Halahala Mohashantyai
Sahasra Sirasam Svetam
After chanting this mantra you will start with Surya Namaskar A and B that are performed 5 times.
STANDING POSES SEQUENCE
After this, the pose will be promoted with a triangle pose. Move through Triangle, Revolving Triangle, Extended Side Angle, and Revolving Side Angle. You will perform with two further folds. Wide-legged forward fold and side intense stretch.
You’ll continue your journey further with some standing balance poses, extended hand-to-big toe pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana), and half-bound Lotus intense stretches. Note that each mudra will be performed on both the left and right sides.
SITTING POSES SEQUENCE
After the standing posture, you will now be doing the sitting posture. The sitting posture segment begins with Dandasana, Staff Pose. This sequence will go on to complete some variations of Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) and Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose). After these folding and twisting, you will practice the Head to Forwarding knee bend and the four versions of Marichyasana (the pose dedicated to Sage Marichi).
Now there is Navasana, boat pose, five times. This part of the primary series is followed by a few sets of difficult asanas. You move into a more challenging asana Arm pressure pose ( Crow Pose) or (Bhujapidasana ), Tortoise pose (Kurmasana), Sleeping tortoise pose, The embryo in the womb pose (Garbhasana) or (Garbha Pindasana), Roster pose (Kukkutasana), and jump backs.
After this, the following family of angle poses is to be performed 3 times.
- Bound angle pose
- Seated angle pose
- Sleeping angle pose
Complete a few reclined poses in this category before moving on to the finishing sequence.
- Lateral sleeping thumb to foot pose (Supta Padangushtasana)
- Both thumbs to feet pose (Ubhaya Padangushtasana)
- Upward facing forward stretch pose (Urdhva Mukha Paschimattanasana)
- Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana)
- Elevated bow pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)
- West-Back (extended-intense) stretching pose (Paschimattanasana)
FINISHING POSES SEQUENCE
The nine poses make up the closing sequence of the primary series. The ending inversions encourage you to breathe more and increase blood circulation in the body.
It begins with Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and then ends with the following asanas in fluidity.
- Plow Pose (Halasana)
- Ear pressure pose (Karnapidasana)
- Elevated lotus pose (Urdhva Padmasana)
- Embryo pose (Pindasana)
- Fish pose (Matsyasana)
- Extended foot pose (Uttana Padasana)
- Head standing pose (Shirshasana)
- Upward staff Head Stand
- Child’s Pose (Balasana)
- Bound lotus pose (Baddha Padmasana)
THE LAST THREE POSES SEQUENCE
In the last three asanas, you will enter a state of calm
- Yoga Mudra (Yoga gesture)
- Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
- Lifted Lotus or Sprung up (Uth Pluthi (Tolasana))
The class will end by chanting the Ashtanga Yoga Mantra.
Svasthi Praja Bhyaha Pari Pala Yantam
Nya Yena Margena Mahim Mahishaha
Go Brahmanebhyaha Shubamastu Nityam
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi
The Benefits of the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga
Although the practice of Ashtanga yoga is quite challenging, it is also one of the most adaptable. It has many benefits, includeing.
- Improved flexibility, balance, and strength
- Increased muscle tone
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Remove stiffness/tightness
- Reduced stress, dipression, and anxiety
- detoxify the nervous system
- Enhanced concentration, confidence, willpower, and mind-body awareness
- Detox the Nadis
- Lower blood pressure
- Clear the chakras
Although Ashtanga can make you fit, it has its origins in a deep spiritual practice with enlightenment as its origin.
Ashtanga Yoga was inspired by the “Patanjali Yoga Sutras”, a revered and ancient Sanskrit text. The teacher most associated with Ashtanga in the Western world is K. Pattabhi Jois, whose method begins with an elementary series and progresses into advanced poses suitable for experienced practitioners.
The Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series is called Yoga Chikitsa. It aims to realign the spine, detoxify the body, and build strength, flexibility, and stamina. It begins with Surya Namaskar (Surya Namaskar A and Surya Namaskar B) and is preceded by relaxation in standing poses, seated poses, inversions, and backbends.
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