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Ashtanga Yoga: The Eight Limbed Yoga Part 2

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It is however not possible to practice Ashtanga Yoga if limbs are weak. Thus a person should practice some basic asanas daily to strengthen the body and mind before going on the journey of Ashtanga Yoga. The Asanas should be performed using the two methods of Vinyasa and Tristhana. Vinyasa uses breathing systems. For example in Surya Namaskar there are nine Vinyasa. The first step is inhaling air and raising arms above the head which is the first Vinyasa (Combination of pose and breathing). Vinyasa does the internal cleansing by heating the blood thereby thinning it and improving the flow. The subsequent sweating removes the toxins from the body. Through continuous practice the body will become light and strong.

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Tristhana the other method incorporates one more element looking place (Drishti) along with posture (Asana) and breath control (Pranayama). It is the three places which need attention to properly understand and learn yoga in the purest form. After practicing asana and Pranayama in Vinyasa and Tristhana mode the mind becomes disciplined and follows the direction of breath which is the core of yogic practices.

Pranayama: Breathing practiced with Vinyasa is called victorious breath and consists of inhaling and exhaling technique. Exhale and inhale should be slow and steady. With time the intensity of exhaling and inhaling should increase. Long and steady Pranayama increases the fire element in body and purifies the nervous system preparing it for the next stage.

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Bandhas: The victorious breathing technique also involves Bandhas or lock for releasing the pranic energy. This released energy is then channelized into 72,000 channels (nadis) in the human body. There are many types of bandhas and the prominent ones are Jalandhara Bandha (Throat lock), Uddiyana Bandha (Lower Abdomen lock) and Mula Bandha (Anal lock). These bandhas help to prevent the energy escape from body while practicing breath control and very essential part of Vinyasa.

Drishti: The gaze is the focus point while performing asana in the early stage and slowly moving towards meditation. The nine Drishti as per Ashtanga Yoga are the nose, between eyebrows (the third eye), navel, thumb, hands, feet, upper part of head and left and right side of the body. Drishti helps to transcend to the higher level of Dharana and Dhyaan and ultimate leads us to practice Samadhi the final stage in Ashtanga Yoga.

Posture (Asanas): As per Shri Pattabhi Jois asana is the method of purifying and strengthening the body. Asanas are divided into six kinds in Ashtanga Yoga. The first series known as Yoga Chikitsa asanas helps to detoxify and align the body. The intermediate asanas known as Nadi Shodhana is for purifying the nervous system by opening up the channels of energy within the body. The next four stages of asanas are known as Sthira Bhaga are higher forms of asanas and challenge the flexibility and strength of the body. Each level of asanas have to fully learnt and practiced before moving on to the next. Yama and Niyama have to be incorporated before doing the asanas phase without which asanas are of no help.

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Practicing the internal cleansing process with the last four steps (limbs) helps to bring the mind under control. It purifies the mind and removes the six maladies surrounding the mind, which are desire, anger, attachment, greed, laziness and envy (ego). Practicing Ashtanga Yoga under a Guru leads to full realization of the potential a human being possesses.

If you really want to practice this challenging form of yoga enroll in the 200 hours Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teacher training in Rishikesh at Ojashvi Yoga Shala. Ojashvi Yoga Shala has excellent facilities coupled with experienced Yoga teachers and practicing Yogis who will take the experience of Ashtanga Yoga to a different level altogether. Surrounded by nature on all sides – The mighty Himalayas, the majestic Ganga and the natural hilly forests the Yoga Shala is the perfect place to practice Ashtanga Yoga under the guidance of eminent Gurus. If you want to become a seasoned practitioner and spread the same all over the world Ojashvi is the place to start the journey which will take you to places you never dreamt of.

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