What Is Ashtanga Yoga: How to Start Practicing?

What Is Ashtanga yoga? Ashtanga yoga is a type of yoga that is based on a set sequence of poses. It is one of the most popular types of yoga and is known for its challenging poses and sequences. If you are interested in starting Ashtanga yoga, you should know a few things.

This blog post will discuss what Ashtanga yoga is, what to expect from your first class, and how to get started!

The History Of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga was developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in the early 1900s. Pattabhi Jois began practicing yoga at the age of 12, and he went on to study with some of the most renowned yoga masters of his day.

In 1948, he established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India, where he taught the practice of Ashtanga yoga to students worldwide.

It is a form of Hatha yoga, which is a type of yoga that focuses on physical postures and breathing exercises. Ashtanga yoga is based on the Yoga Sutras, an ancient text written by Patanjali.

The popularity of Ashtanga yoga has grown exponentially in recent years, thanks in part to the efforts of Pattabhi Jois and his successors. Today, there are thousands of Ashtanga yoga practitioners all over the world, and the practice shows no signs of slowing down.

The word “Ashtanga” means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit. These eight limbs are the steps that you take to live a yogic lifestyle. They are:

  • Yama: moral restraints, such as nonviolence and truthfulness
  • Niyama: self-discipline, such as cleanliness and contentment
  • Asana: physical postures
  • Pranayama: breath control
  • Pratyahara: sense withdrawal
  • Dharana: concentration
  • Dhyana: meditation
  • Samadhi: enlightenment.

The Basic Of This Mind-Body Practice

So now that we know what Ashtanga yoga is, what does it entail? The practice of Ashtanga yoga consists of three main elements:

  • The asanas, or physical postures
  • The pranayama, or breath control
  • The dristi, or gaze.

1. The asanas are the most important part of the practice.

They are what you will be doing most of the time during your class. There are six different series of asanas, each one more difficult than the last.

The first series, known as the primary series, is made up of 75 different poses and is designed to detoxify and align the body.

The second series, known as the intermediate series, is made up of 50 different poses and is designed to open up the hips and shoulders.

The third series, known as the advanced series A, B, and C, is made up of over 200 different poses and is designed to challenge and transform the body.

2. Pranayama is the second element of Ashtanga yoga.

It consists of various breathing exercises designed to improve your lung capacity and help you control your breath.

3. The dristi is the third element of Ashtanga yoga.

It refers to where you should focus your gaze during each pose. There are nine different dristis, or gazing points, that you can use during your practice.

The Benefits Of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is a practice that includes all eight of these limbs. It is a comprehensive system that can help you to improve your physical and mental health.

Some of the benefits of Ashtanga yoga include:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved strength and stamina
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved sleep quality.

If you are looking for a mind-body practice that can help you to improve your health and well-being, Ashtanga yoga is a great option!

How To Find The Right Ashtanga Yoga Class For You?

Now that you know what Ashtanga yoga is and what it can do for you, you might be wondering how to get started. The best way to start practicing Ashtanga yoga is to find a class at a local studio or gym.

If you are new to the practice, it is important to find a class that is specifically designed for beginners.

Usually, these classes will be labeled as “Ashtanga 101” or something similar.

Once you have taken a few beginner classes and feel comfortable with the basic concepts of Ashtanga yoga, you can move on to more advanced classes.

However, starting slowly and gradually working your way up is always best.

If you have any medical conditions or injuries, you must talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.

Once you have the green light from your doctor, start by researching and finding a class that you think will be a good fit for you.

And remember, there is no shame in being a beginner! We all have to start somewhere.

What To Expect From Your First Ashtanga Yoga Class?

If you have never been to an Ashtanga yoga class, you might wonder what to expect.

In most cases, the class will start with a brief introduction from the teacher. They will then lead you through a series of warm-up exercises to get your body ready for the practice.

After the warm-ups, the teacher will guide you through the primary series of asanas. They will provide instructions on how to do each pose and offer modifications if necessary.

The class will then end with a relaxation exercise known as savasana. This is when you lie down on your back and let your body completely relax.

How To Get Started With Ashtanga Yoga?

If you’re considering trying Ashtanga yoga, here are a few things you should know before getting started.

First, Ashtanga yoga is not for beginners. If you’re new to yoga, you should try a slower-paced class like Hatha or Kundalini before jumping into an Ashtanga class.

Second, be prepared to sweat. Ashtanga classes are vigorous and will make you sweat. Bring a towel and be sure to hydrate before and after class.

Third, don’t be discouraged if you can’t do all the poses. The key is to listen to your body and go at your own pace.

There’s no shame in taking a break when you need it. And finally, don’t forget to breathe! The breath is just as important as the poses in Ashtanga yoga.

If you can keep these things in mind, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the many benefits of Ashtanga yoga.


If you are interested in starting an Ashtanga yoga practice, it is recommended that you find a qualified teacher who can help you learn the correct techniques and ensure that you are doing the poses safely.

Once you have learned the basic sequence, you can practice at home or in a studio. Remember to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. You will soon experience the many benefits of Ashtanga yoga with regular practice!

I hope this article has helped to give you a better understanding!