The key reason why Ashtanga yoga is so revered nowadays has to do with its beneficial impacts on the health and wellbeing of people who practice it. Hence, we will dissect the top 10 benefits of Ashtanga yoga for everyone who might be interested in this noble discipline.
Is Ashtanga yoga for everyone?
So, your physical strength, flexibility, and mental wellbeing are bound to improve once you start practicing Ashtanga yoga. It is a common misconception that you have to be extremely fit to practice this art. On the contrary, everyone can benefit from practicing Ashtanga yoga.
It is true that Ashtanga is one of the most challenging types of yoga out there. But what people tend to forget is that, as you progress, your strength and stamina will catch up soon enough.
If you want, you can use pre-workout supplements to enhance your strength and performance. But most yoga practitioners profit from the adaptability of Ashtanga yoga. This means that anyone can do the movement in its essence, but that you actually master the movement only after you have performed it countless times.
This makes Ashtanga a great way to start working out if you have had injuries or other health problems in the past. However, you should still be prepared for a sweaty, demanding, but ultimately manageable and rewarding workout.
Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga
Yoga is generally quite good for improving the flexibility of your body. The same applies to Ashtanga yoga. One thing you need to keep in mind is that you will become more flexible gradually. This means you need to take your time instead of rushing yourself into performing more complex poses. So, go slowly – it will take a few weeks for you to see a noticeable improvement in terms of your body’s flexibility.
Along with flexibility, regular Ashtanga yoga sessions also make your muscles stronger and leaner. This comes as no surprise when you consider that there are sixty vinyasas in the primary series of Ashtanga yoga. A short digression: vinyasa is the name for the movement, the flow that happens between every pose (or asana).
Just think about it. Experienced yogis are usually quite muscular. This is because most of the movements in Ashtanga yoga require you to work with your body weight.
For you to lift yourself off the ground while standing on your hands (cf. Crow pose), your muscles have to grow. Even something that might seem simple enough, like balancing on one leg, is actually quite demanding for your core muscles and general stamina.
Increased muscle tone
As you work on your strength and flexibility, you will notice changes in your muscle tone. So, your muscles will gradually start to look firmer and stronger.
Of course, this is a natural ‘side-effect’ of working out. Yet, Ashtanga yoga develops the muscles in a much less intense way than traditional or weight-lifting-based workouts. This means that while you perform the movements, you do not have to consciously distract yourself from the pain you feel in your body. Hence, the risk of injury is reduced to a minimum when you practice Ashtanga yoga responsibly and adequately.
Ashtanga yoga improves cardiovascular health
So, it is not just the muscles in your body that benefit from practicing Ashtanga yoga. As you might already know, going through an entire primary series of asanas and vinyasas involves a lot of sweating. This means that your heart rate is increasing throughout the whole session. So, Ashtanga yoga is excellent for improving your cardiovascular health and endurance as well.
Ashtanga yoga improves the immune system as well
This is excellent news for people who are also looking to improve their health and immune system as well as their physical fitness. Improving your strength, stamina, and cardiovascular health all at the same time, and possibly even your dietary and lifestyle habits, can also enhance your body’s defense mechanisms. This means your immune system needs physical activity to stay strong when faced with disease.
Ashtanga Yoga is safe
Ashtanga yoga is non-invasive in comparison to other workout regimes. There are no sudden movements that can break your bones or seriously injure your muscle tissue.
So, you can rest assured that the intensity of the workouts will never compromise your health. It also does not make you feel queasy, drained, exhausted, or make your body susceptible to disease.
So, you build your muscle tone and improve your cardiovascular health at the same time. What happens then? Well, you lose weight, of course! This is especially true for the fat deposits that cover your arms and abdominal (stomach) area.
Ashtanga Yoga challenges you to embrace ‘boredom’
At first, it may appear as if the movements are frustratingly repetitive from session to session. Naturally, some people might find this to be uneventful and tedious.
Yet, once you start doing yoga, you should begin to appreciate the certainty and reliability of the regimen. When you repeat the movements every session, you are slowly starting to perform them in a controlled, focused way. And as they say – practice makes perfect. This is, indeed, the guiding principle of Ashtanga yoga.
Practicing Ashtanga yoga also improves your mind’s focus
Hence, it is no coincidence the order and type of movements are repeated. Once you learn the sequence and the movements by heart, you no longer have to dedicate all of your attention to performing them correctly. As a result, you will be able to focus on your breathing.
In this way, you are challenging your mind to focus on controlling different parts of your body with your mind. This is a fascinating mind-development technique that can be explored through Ashtanga more easily than other workout routines. Some people even refer to it as ‘moving meditation’.
Ashtanga yoga is good for stress relief
It is not just your body that feels the benefits of Ashtanga yoga. Moving your body in a flow-like motion also releases tension and anxiety from your body. After yoga class, most people enjoy that particular feeling of airiness, ease, and relaxation. So, Ashtanga yoga is a good stress relief because you spend so much time focusing on your body instead of your problems, emotions, or anxiety
As you can see, there are many benefits of Ashtanga yoga for everyone, from better flexibility to improved focus and weight loss. However, keep in mind that you will need some time to master it, so make sure to start slowly. It also helps to have someone guiding you, and there are many tutorials online where you can get some ideas. All in all, we wish you good luck on your Ashtanga yoga journey!
Having completed my Bachelor’s degree in medicine and currently pursuing a house job at a well reputed hospital in California, I decided to utilize my spare time in sharing knowledge with others through my blog. Apart from my time spent in the medical field, I love to read fiction novels and go on long drives.