Ashtanga yoga is a traditional style of yoga, which was delivered to the world in a modernized way by K. Pattabhi Jois in the late twentieth century. Ashtanga yoga concentrates on the eight limbs or branches mentioned in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras and derives its name from the same. The modern term of power yoga is derived from the practice of any vigorous yoga that is derived from Ashtanga yoga. The number of people finding solace in Ashtanga yoga over the years has been on the rise, due to the mental and physical well-being it brings to them. If you are someone who is preparing to start Ashtanga yoga practice, here are a few tips that will help you in the journey.
Find a good teacher – A good teacher can make a world of difference. A well trained and experienced teacher will have years of practice under their belt and would know all the techniques that are required to get the best out of the practice of Ashtanga yoga. The teacher must be certified and experienced in the Ashtanga Yoga. Also, an important quality to look at would be that they should be committed and well-versed.
Asanas first – Only a strong body can help the mind to focus. Even though there are two other branches that come before asanas, it is ideal to start with asanas because it will help you develop your body and be capable of handling the other branches which are tougher to master.
Focus on breathing – Know that breathing is everything. Controlling the breath proves to be the cornerstone of any yoga practices. It helps you keep in check of all the emotions you go through and makes you think deeper. A specific breathing pattern has to be followed while practicing the steps involved in Ashtanga yoga and you will have to practice till you get the breathing technique right to get the most out of it. But that does not mean you have put too much stress on it. Just put a conscious effort to get the breathing pattern right and with time you will learn it.
The Ashtanga Primary Series – Also called as Yoga Therapy Chikitsa (means ‘treatment’ in Sanskrit) helps to get oxygen to the parts of your body which has never received air before. The process gets some of the muscles to start functioning which have never been used before, in turn, toning your body. The warrior and Uttita Hasta poses does a lot more to your body than what meets the eye.
Sweating is good – Unless, you are at some of the coldest parts of the world, it is assured that you will sweat if the breathing pattern is proper. And sweating too much would mean you are putting too much effort into the process and is straining your body. If you are sweating, it means you are breathing correctly.
Keeping yourself clean – Showering before and after the class can help you freshen up and relax your body making it the perfect condition to practice Ashtanga yoga. When you have just started the practice, the purification process will release some toxins from your body which might make you smell in a different way than you ever have. This smell is heightened if you have not showered prior to the practice. So it is ideal to take a shower before practice.
The Right Attitude – It is very important to have the right attitude as you practice Ashtanga yoga. Having a positive outlook will help you reap the most benefits for the effort you put. You cannot enjoy doing yoga if you do not possess the right attitude towards it. So, the right attitude accompanied with a good sense of humor will help you go a long way.
Practice, practice and practice – Ashtanga yoga is a lifetime process. It is not something that you can master in a few days’ time. Daily practice is necessary to get the outcome you are looking for. There are no shortcuts, and consistency is that one factor which will lead you to succeed in reaping the benefits of Ashtanga yoga. There is no need to stress when the results are slow. All you need to do is give it time and blend it to your routine.
Ashtanga yoga is not a hundred meter sprint; it is a marathon. So, be patient and practice it regularly to find the changes come to you slowly but steadily. Make use of these pointers and get the most out of it. Mantra Yoga School in Morjim organizes 5 day Ashtanga yoga retreats for beginners so that the students can get the right start to start their Ashtanga yoga practice under the supervision of experienced certified staff.