Ashtanga Yoga – How it all Began?

The literal meaning of ashtanga yoga is “eight limbed yoga”, as the word “ashta” means eight in literal sense.

In Pantanjali’s yoga Sutras there was a mention about this aspect of ashtanga yoga and this type yoga encompasses eight important and major spiritual principles including the most important meditation, proper postures, control of breath and moral restraints.

But, fortunately or unfortunately the ashtanga yoga that is being practiced in western countries today depicts a different picture.

In today’s context the ashtanga yoga is considered as a power yoga and there is no importance given to spiritual advancement and the stress is more on attaining certain physical attributes such as performing complicated postures, fast running, surya namaskar, and doing other workouts.

Ashtanga yoga basically encircles around achieving certain breathing techniques, as the same can give an effect of a full-body workout and known to help athletes and other sports persons to have a healthy, flexible, and strong body.

When it comes to ashtanga yoga you may require to perform a number of complex body postures and movements and that can make amateurs and novices getting hurt in the initial stages.

Even the experienced people find it difficult to perform certain body postures and hence it is necessary for any one who would like to learn ashtanga yoga to attend to classes first before trying to do the ashtanga yoga alone.

It is also advised to go for certain yoga accessories such as yoga rug or yoga sticky mat and many people who perform ashtanga yoga use yoga rug, as it is good in absorbing the sweat than mats.

Ashtanga Yoga and the Popular Personalities

Many popular celebrities were known to practice ashtanga yoga for keeping them hale and fit and one such celebrity who is known to practice ashtanga yoga is none other than the popular actress Madonna.

It was also known that Madonna has been practicing ashtanga yoga for the last 15 years and other celebrities such as model Christy Turlington, actors Woody Harrelson and Willem DaFoe and athletes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Randal Cunningham were also ardent practitioners of ashtanga yoga for many years.

The Difference between Power Yoga and Ashtanga yoga

Though the terms Power yoga and ashtanga yoga can be interchangeably used, there are subtle differences between these two forms of yoga. Basically the power yoga is derived from ashtanga yoga and the power yoga got its western tag after undergoing few changes.

For example, a set of postures or asanaas in ashtanga yoga will take not less than 2 hours, where as in power yoga the methodology is simplified so as to consume little time.

The technique of using a heated room is used while doing power yoga so as to make the practitioners sweat out more there by getting rid of more toxins from one’s blood.

On the other hand, the ashtanga yoga aims at providing a strenuous workout with all the beneficial aspects of controlled breathing and a concentrated mind that make the yoga more popular.

Ashtanga yoga has been found to be very effective and useful for athletes, even for beginners, in providing the concentration and the necessary workout schedule.

In case of beginners, if they are exposed to hatha yoga first, then the ashtanga yoga will be easier and they can get into the proper groove very fast.

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