Ashtanga Yoga is for the athletic person looking to fit a form of yoga into their routine. Ashtanga yoga is viewed as the most strenuous form of the Hatha Yoga methods. It reflects equal amounts of focus on strength, flexibility and stamina. Yoga teacher training will help you establish how to use each of the poses to your benefit. When looking to translate what it means it refers back to the eight-limbed and yoga referring to power.
Your yoga teacher training will go over the eight levels to achieving your spiritual enlightenment.
- Yamas- will explore the truth, your personal conduct and morals
- Niyamas- focuses on the surrender of your ego and your contentment
- Asanas- are the steady poses you practice
- Pranayama- helps with the control of your breathing and energy and bringing them together through practice
- Pratyahara-focuses on how to withdraw your senses
- Dharana- helps to learn how to master your concentration
- Shyana- examines your meditation focus and brings it further
- Samadhi- helps to bring you to experience and focus on the super-conscious state of being
Your yoga teacher will guide you in Ashtanga Yoga teacher training to help you focus on creating heat which will help you purge your body of toxins and give you a clearer path to your mind and body. Yoga teaching will explain how to execute a series of poses which will create an intense heat inside your body. You will move through various postures in a quick succession, monitored closely by your breath. Practicing in a continuous flow will help produce a sweat and will increase your level of cardiovascular activity.
Series of Poses
The primary series, Yoga Chikitsa, which translates to yoga therapy, will help align the spine, build strength and flexibility, detoxes the body and builds stamina. This series has about 75 different poses that will take almost two hours to complete starting with sun salutations to standing or seated poses, through to backbends and inversions before ending with relaxation.
The second series, Nadi Shodana, translates to the purification of the nervous system. It will guide you with strengthening and cleansing the nervous system and the energy flow channels that go through your body. This is done only after the first series has been introduced and will go through the same guidelines beginning with sun salutations and ending with stretches and relaxation.
The advanced series, Sthira Bhaga, translated to divine stability are very intense and divided into four to make them available to more people. These are typically arm balances and are extremely difficult and only for the very advanced student.
Type of training
There are many different types of settings for yoga teacher training and the type of instruction that you wish to hold. During yoga certification you will be shown how to lead an Ashtanga yoga class and instruct students how to achieve the poses and alignments. This is usually done in the first two series. If you are in a studio it is referred to as a shala and is normally close twice a month for the observation of moon days. Students can take a class led by an instructor but once they are familiar and comfortable with all the poses they can opt for a self-led type of practice. This gives the student the opportunity to practice this form of yoga at their own pace and their own level of ability. For students that decide to stick with instructor led classes they enjoy the benefit of having other students company and the encouragement and support of a room of other people as needed.
There are numerous benefits to Ashtanga yoga and yoga teacher training that are outlined and determined by this style of yoga. Not only is there a benefit to a very strong detoxification of the organs and muscles in your body but those practicing this style of yoga will experience more flexibility to the muscle, tendon and ligament areas in the body. Other benefits that can be noticed while practicing Ashtanga Yoga are:
- Better circulation throughout the body
- Improved lubrication and joint mobility which relieves chronic pain
- Weight loss results
- More defined muscle tone in the body
- A stronger sense of well-being, calm and a deeper sleeping level
Some routine practitioners also feel strongly that with regular Ashtanga yoga practice the symptoms of certain health problems such as thyroid disorders; arthritis, chronic illnesses and circulatory issues will reduce symptoms.
Go on a yoga vacation or find a local yoga teacher training program that will help you make the difference in someone else’s life. By helping others, you are also helping yourself!