What really is Ashtanga Yoga- an esoteric practice meant for a cult, prescription for morally scrupulous living, or the most challenging segment that one can find in a yoga course book? This is the spirit of inquiry that drives most yoga enthusiasts to Ashtanga- a discipline that they either fall headlong in love with or become careful to avoid for the rest of their days.
As goes one of the famous quotes of Sri Pattabhi Jois, a great Ashtanga luminary of modern times- “practice, and all is coming”, there is no middle path in this system, no alternative to rigorous practice.
Ashtanga yoga is a continuously evolving system of mind-body discipline. Founded primarily in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali or the aphorisms of yoga, Ashtanga is an eight-fold method of training the body and mind for an uplifted state of being. The eight limbs of the practice according to the scriptures comprise of the yama and niyama, representing a set of ethical codes for right living. This massive degree of comprehensiveness in the Ashtanga yoga system is its greatest distinguishing quality, and this is how it makes the practice unique-
Your Instructor Cannot Deviate from the Root
Nullifying most of the anticipation regarding the role of respective instructors in the matter of yoga pedagogy, Ashtanga confirms the delivery of authentic knowledge from the source through set sequences which do not vary in order regardless of which stage of practice the learner is in.
The beginning of ashtanga yoga poses is always with Sun Salutations A and B, moving on to the standing series of postures, and so on. Your yoga instructor’s role is only to initiate the learners and steer them through the system with hands-on guidance. The lineage is held as supreme and all must pay respect to it. Unless a student is facing certain limitations in performing, there shall be no change in the sequences.
You Will be Encouraged to Introspect Deeper
Ashtanga can effectively develop a kind of moving meditation. The exercise allows each individual to positively shut out the distractions of an outside world and move deeper within oneself, merely by anchoring the set of prescribed posture movements anchored by breath. Except for the continuous, reverberating breath of the disciples, everything else will be quiet in the room. Even when the teacher speaks, it is in a slow and thorough manner that cannot break the peace of the realm. You can truly cultivate peace with a basic Ashtanga Yoga routine.
A Strong Commitment to the Practice
The word commitment can have different meanings for different people. Commitment to yoga means making the discipline less of a chore that one has to take forcefully and more of a part of one’s everyday existence. You must be expecting a change in dynamic energy within yourself when you have committed yourself to yoga. Even a ten-fifteen minutes break between works can be utilized to harness an auspicious energy field by doing yoga. Ashtanga is that kind of a discipline which allows for a very brief period of exercises too.
Progressing Through a Routine
It is also a discipline which is strongly established on routine. The system reminds us how our body and mind are not in the same state every day of the week. The energy level, rigidity or suppleness of the joints, bone health, or agility changes for the better with passing day into practice. This could only be achieved with a discipline, by performing ashtanga yoga poses in a routine. Surpassing the monotony, you must observe the beauty of improvement that your mind and body passes through in this system. There will slowly develop a massive power reserve of optimistic energy within your body, your mind becoming capable of more awareness, and your agility reaching heights you never thought normally possible.
Transformation on the Inside-out
As you move through a routine practice in the basic Ashtanga Yoga routine, you are going to be able to coordinate and connect the changes found in the realm outside with your transformation on the inside. The day you will first be able to connect your fingers with your toe when bending down, belief to have become more connected, calm, and self-controlled at your inner core. Overcoming a limitation on the mat at your ashtanga session is going to manifest doubly in your personal and professional life.
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