Ashtanga yoga is the most popular form of yoga practiced today. Ashtanga means eight limbs in Sanskrit, and refers to the eight limbs of yoga as practiced or laid out by Patanjali in his Yoga sutras. In simple terms it refers to the practice of yoga in such a way that it helps you understand yourself while improving the overall health of your body, mind and soul. Before practicing this form of yoga, it is important to understand its nature and benefits.
Understanding Ashtanga Yoga
When trying to understand the basics of ashtanga yoga, it is important to understand the eight limbs, as laid down by Patanjali. These include, yamas or abstinence; niyamas or disciplines;Yogasana or postures; Pranayama or Breath control; Pratyahara or withdrawal of senses; dharana or improving attention; dhyana or concentration and finally Samadhi, where the body and soul is connected with the universal being. Whilst these constitute the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga, it is important to note that two of these limbs, namely, yogasana and pranayama, which include practice of yogic postures and breath control, are commonly practiced today.
Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga yoga is an excellent stress buster and this is one of its primary benefits. The practice of this yoga helps focus on your mind as well as your body, which in turn enables you to remove the negative energy from your body, while replacing it with positive energy. By doing so, you are actually reducing the stress in your body. Secondly, this form of yoga helps improve concentration. Pranayama, which is an essential part of this yoga, requires you to sit still and breathe, while concentrating on the movement of your breath. Such practice, while improving overall breathing and health, also improves concentration.
Practice of these postures as well as breath control removes the bad toxins from your body, while improving circulation of blood in the body as well as functioning of the lungs. Finally and most importantly, practice of this yoga actually helps in losing weight as it helps improve the secretions of the thyroid gland, which is essential for improving overall metabolism in the body. Apart from these myriad uses, practice of ashtanga yoga helps you develop a positive outlook in life, which is absolutely essential for ultimate success.