why ashtanga yoga

Why Ashtanga Yoga is Good for You?


For decades, scientists are trying to find the benefits of yoga practice to man’s health and wellness. And, one form of yoga that has gained a massive following in the western world today is Ashtanga.

Ashtanga means eight-limbed and refers to the eight spiritual practices it follows. Research on this type of yoga shows amazing reasons why Ashtanga yoga should be practiced on a regular basis.

Increased Flexibility

why ashtanga yoga

In a pilot study by Charlie Taylor-Rugman, an authorized Ashtanga teacher, it shows that practice of this yoga has many benefits. The team assembled a sample group composed of 10 males and 12 females, all yoga beginners.

The practitioners were taught in the Ashtanga Primary Series for the duration of eight weeks. Every class lasted for 60 minutes and performed the same sequence every week.

The yoga postures focused on breathing, alignment, and mindful movement. Every single week, the subjects were guided through Sun Salutations, and standing postures.

The positions include Triangle and Wide-Legged Forward Fold. They are also introduced to Staff, Seated Forward Fold, and Upward Plank. It is then, followed by three seated final poses and finishing relaxation.

After eight weeks of Ashtanga Yoga, participants showed remarkable improvements in the upper body and core endurance. A notable improvement in the hamstring and trunk flexibility was also observed.

The subjects also noticed a significant increase in the flexibility of their shoulders and ankle-calf. The subjects also showed a decrease in the percentage of their total body fat. The group exhibited positive effects on the well-being of the subject.

Improved Physical Strength

why ashtanga yoga

In another pilot study, Charlie Taylor-Rugman trained a group of amateur football players. They practiced the process to boost the capabilities of the players. In every week, the football players executed 21 yoga postures.

They were also introduced to several relaxation techniques. Aside from those, Rugman also asked them to perform sets of breathing exercises.

The group of football players showed noteworthy progress in their physical strength. This attributes to the surprising changes in several parts of their bodies. This includes improvements in flexion and shoulder extension. The subjects also showed improvements in their hamstrings.

The increase in physical endurance was validated improved standing balance time and vertical jump height. The number of sit-ups and press-ups performed also increased. The participants also showed improvement in their planking time.

Calms the Mind and Body

why ashtanga yoga

Charlie Taylor-Rugman also revealed some of the remarkable benefits of Ashtanga Yoga. According to him, this form of yoga gives the practitioner an amazing feeling.

He explained, the immediate effect of moving the body along with proper breathing gives a wonderful feeling. The practice also stimulates the production of happy chemicals in the brain also known as the endorphins which calm the mind.

Nowadays, we are in a stressful environment with inactive lifestyles. Most of the time, we are sitting down in front of the computer and spending less time moving around. In the history of humans, you will notice that we have the tendency to move around at some pace.

When we are active, our brain produces chemicals which affect our physiology and improves our mood. These chemicals are also responsible for fighting diseases and alleviating depression. They also promote stimulation of our internal organs for optimal functioning.

The practice of yoga also helps relieve tension in the body, especially in the spine. This thus promotes better posture and sleep because of decreased discomfort and pain.

We are also exposed to anxiety causing factors, such as finances and family problems. Practicing yoga can help manage this and help you find balance in life.

What is Ashtanga?

why ashtanga yoga

Ashtanga is a type of yoga that involves the practice of highly-structured Vinyasa Yoga. When we say Vinyasa, it involves execution of a set of series poses done in the same order.

It was popularized and collated by K. Pattabhi Jois in the 20th century. This did not originate from him. It came from India and was passed down from one guru to another.

It means eight limbs and involves synchronizing breathing with a series of progressive postures. Aside from the poses, the practice is also rooted in a rich philosophy and tradition.

This practice improves one's discipline as practitioners follow the instructions of their teacher. Part of that are celibacy, scriptural study, vegetarianism, and performing of asanas.

The process produces extreme internal heat and profuse sweating that detoxifies organs and muscles. Many practitioners today promote Ashtanga as the modern-day form of the classical Indian Yoga.

During a class, it is noticeable that there is little talking and unlike other forms of yoga, there is no music playing in the background. This makes it so that there is a peaceful environment with little distraction.

The benefits of Ashtanga are more enjoyed when practiced often. Also, finding a credible teacher is important in the practice.

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