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What is Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series?

Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series is known as Yoga Cikitsā (योग चिकित्सा). The practice cleanses and purifies the body on many levels. It is interesting to know about this famous Yoga method before you dig deeper into the practice.

The practice of postures (asana) works primarily on keeping the body healthy. It is a primary need for human development.

Ashtanga Yoga is a scientific approach developed to cleanse and purify the body in a systematic way.

Ashtanga Yoga developed by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in India. This is known as the most challenging series of asana. There are 6 series / Levels. The Primary Series is most widely practised as a “standard Ashtanga Yoga”.

Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series
Original Poster of Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Understanding Ashtanga Primary Series

In the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system, asanas are in a specific order. They have the effect of ‘unlocking’ the body in an intelligent and scientific way. Each pose/ posture/ asana preparing the body for ones to come.

By combining into a flowing sequence It has the effect of realigning and detoxifying the body and the nervous system. Ashtanga develops inner strength, flexibility and improving general health and well-being.

Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series | Yoga Shala Heidelberg
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Ashtanga Primary Series Asana

Starting Asana – Surya Namaskara A & B are standard starting asana for all Ashtanga Yoga Series. Know more about Surya Namaskar Here.

Standing Poses (Asana) –  There is 10 main standing asana. Few sub-divided in parts (e.g. Prasarita Padottanaasana A, B, C, D etc.) and Virabhadrasana has done with vinyasa.

Sitting Poses (Asana) – There are 16 Sitting asana done with vinyasa. A few (e.g Janu Shirshasana A, B, C and Marichyasana A, B, C, D) have variations. All Sitting asana along with vinyasa.

Lying Down Poses (Asana) – There are 11 lying poses. A few done with vinyasa and rest without vinyasa.

Finishing Asanas The last 4 asana is the finishing of Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series with a restful Shavasana (corpse pose) for 5-10 mins.

Many Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series asanas are fairly basic in terms of the flexibility and fitness required to do. The Primary Series is the most demanding of all the series to learn. It takes time and commitment to start to become easier.

By regular and dedicated practice of Authentic Ashtanga Yoga at Yoga Shala Heidelberg, the student overcomes the following:

  • Physical limitations – Short hamstrings, tight hips, spinal imbalances, poor posture and weak abdominal muscles (core strength)
  • Mental limitations – Flagging willpower, lack of mental focus, weak body-mind connection, negative thinking, erroneous beliefs about our lives.

Conclusion

Ashtanga Yoga is a great method to detox the body and spine. Ashtanga Yoga builds much strength. Improves balance and flexibility. There are positive effects on the nervous system and subtle body centres (Chakras). If you are new to Ashtanga Yoga, try practising Half Ashtanga (Modified version video) and slowly dive in.

 

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