Ashtanga Yoga, one of the classical yoga forms after the Hatha yoga is considered to be an austere and disciplined style by several yoga fanatics. The Ashtanga Yoga form comprises a set sequence of yoga poses that range from forwarding fold to backbends, twists, and inversions. Sun Salutation series is regarded as one of the fundamental asana branches of yogic practices. The practice of Sun Salutation A and B warms up to the performance of subsequent ashtanga yoga poses. The practice eases the joints, increases the blood flow, stretches the body, and prepares the individual for a challenging practice ahead. The Ashtanga Yoga Asanas are linked with rhythmic breathing and flowing movement that create heat deep within the core and purify the body, mind, and soul.
Here are ten great Ashtanga Yoga postures for you to try:
1. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana): Get into a Triangle pose by spreading your feet 3-4 inches apart. Point the right foot out and the other foot to 40-degree angle in the inward direction. Fully extend your arms over the right hip. Grab the toe of the right foot with your right hand and raise the left-hand upwards, perpendicular to the floor. Open up your chest, shoulder, and collarbone.
2. Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangustasana): Begin in mountain pose and rest your hands on the hips. Draw the left leg towards your belly and tightly hold the outside of your left foot. Inhale and stretch the left leg forward as much as possible. The pulling motion that takes place in your arm and feet helps keep you stabilized. Deepen the pose by looking over your left side. Repeat the same on the other side.
3. Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose (Prasarita Padottanasana): Stand on a yoga mat with feet 2-3 inches apart and hands on the posterior. Keep your front torso taller than your back. Exhale, maintaining the length, lean forward from the hips. Bring your arms down and set the wrists directly below the shoulders. Try to rest the crown of the head on the floor. Do not let go of the breathing.
4. Chair Pose (Utkatasana): To perform chair pose, stand straight on the floor with feet together. As you breathe in, extend the arms overhead and keep them parallel, palms facing inward. Exhale, bend the knees and slightly tilt the torso over the thighs. Firm your shoulder blades and keep your lower back strong.
5. Warrior Pose I (Virabhadrasana I): Stand upright on the floor. Exhale, extend your arms to the side and spread the feet wider than your hips. Turn the right foot out and left foot in. Angle the right foot at 90-degrees and left foot to 45-degrees. Bend the right knee and keep the shin perpendicular to the floor. Rotate towards your right side and gaze ahead over your right hand.
6. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): Begin in staff pose. Inhale, keeping the front torso long and lean forward at the hips. If possible then try to grab your feet with your hands. With each inhalation, elongate the torso, and with each exhalation, release deeply into the forward fold.
7. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana): To get into the pose, sit tall on a yoga mat. Exhale, fold your knees, pull your heels towards the pelvic region and bring the soles of the feet in close contact with each other. Clasp the hands around the feet.
8. Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana): Lie in a prone position on a yoga mat. Place your hands on the mat next to the lower ribs. Press the hands into the floor to straighten the elbows and to lift the torso and legs a few inches up above the ground. Tilt your head backward and look at the ceiling.
9. Shoulder Stand Pose (Sarvangasana): Lie straight on the ground with arms by your side. Bend your knees and heels close to the hips. Press the palms into the floor to raise the feet above and to draw the thighs into the torso. Continue lifting your feet and bring the knees closer to your face. Support the lower back with your hands. Slowly straighten your knees and bring the thighs in line with your torso. Your heels should be fully lifted up towards the ceiling.
10. Corpse Pose (Savasana): Lie on a yoga mat. Spread your legs and arms. Close your eyes and relax.
No doubt Ashtanga yoga poses are physically challenging but are highly rewarding if you make the practice a habit.
To know about Ashtanga Yoga in further detail, explore our Yoga Teacher Training In India.