Ashtanga Yoga Cheat Sheet: Top 7 Routines You Shouldn’t Miss

Ashtanga is one of the rising fads in the yoga world due to its workout-like nature. If you’re starting or redefining your Ashtanga Yoga routine, you might probably be looking for a variety of sequences to practice. There are dozens of asana sequences emerging these days, but having a bunch to start with would be easier. To level up your yoga classes, here the eight routines/sequences you shouldn’t miss.

1. Mantras

This yoga routine is known for its traditional mantra taught by Sri K Pattabhi Jois. The mantra is said to root from the ancient Ashtanga path or the “eight-limb path”. Yogis believe that this path leads a person out of the jungle and helps get rid of prejudices and negative thoughts for clear self-realization.

While you do the postures, you should also chant the mantra faithfully. When you do, you should wish for harmony, peace, and blessings. The chant is written in Sanskrit and symbolizes the thousand radiant heads, a metaphor to self-realization.

Usually, this mantra is recited at the beginning and end of the Ashtanga Yoga. This is intended to make you let go of attachments and mind clutter before and after doing the asanas. Mental clarity is a strict faculty of yogic living.

2. Sun Salutations

Sun Salutations are the foundation of the Ashtanga Yoga. To achieve this perfect routine, you have to practice Ujjayi or the steadiness of breath, Bandha or the control of energy, and Drsti or the level of concentration.

Practicing this provides a dynamic flow of energy in the body as you count your movements the same way you count rosary beads. You should establish this Ashtanga Yoga routine first before proceeding in the fundamental positions. Anyway, this routine is best if you’re in a weight loss plan but doesn’t want to do complex postures.

If you’re planning to join a more complex yoga class, I suggest that you master the Sun Salutations first. This is helpful in establishing rhythm and breathing patterns. In Sanskrit, this is called the Surya Namaskara.

Ashtanga yoga routine

3. Fundamental Positions

This routine is a bit more strenuous than the Sun Salutations and is intended to bring physical body realignment as well as energy increase. This is usually characterized by standing positions that start and end the sequence. Once you become familiar with this, you can merge asana sequences to make the routine easier.

Fundamental positions are performed with Vinyasas to maintain the warmth and dynamics of the routine. Usually, this consists of eight asanas with different breathing patterns.

These postures maximize the strength of your arm and leg muscles as well as improve the flexibility of your sitting bones. However, you should avoid this routine if you have backbone issues or butt pain. But if you’re fit, this practice will prevent back pain and muscle cramps.

4. Finishing sequences

The finishing Ashtanga Yoga routine serves as the culmination of the entire Ashtanga Yoga practice. On these asanas, you have to make use of Ujjayi while having Bandha in the works. With this, you’ll have a steady flow of energy, fewer muscle contractions, increased focus, and mental clarity.

If you’re a newbie on this routine, you should try the sitting positions first. You should chant the closing mantra followed by Savasana or the relaxation posture. To know that this works, you should observe decreased thinking, irregular breathing, and sweat.

Once you master the basic asanas, you can slowly add more of the complex finishing positions like the plank pose and backward roll. You should have this routine after mastering the fundamental positions. Remember, you should practice Ashtanga in progression.

5. Primary Series

Original yogis call the primary series as Yoga Chikitsa in Sanskrit and you can use this as a yoga therapy routine. This asana intends to purify and heal the body through a series of challenging postures. Yogis consider Yoga Chikitsa as one of the most difficult series to learn for an Ashtanga yogi. Nevertheless, this series makes an individual become more familiar with the Vinyasas.

Majority of the postures are in the sitting position with twists while the yogi chants a mantra. It will usually start with the coarse posture going easy to the subtle ones. This makes health, vitality, and strength as the center of attention.

As a seated series, you should practice this Ashtanga Yoga routine on both sides of your body by switching foot or hand use.

Ashtanga yoga routine

6. Intermediate Series

You should do this intermediate series after mastering the above routines for years. Practitioners typically refer to this as a yoga path for purifying the energy channels. With this, you’ll have a deeper take on Ujjayi, Bandha, and Drsti.

You should know that you mastered the Primary Series if your body is flexible enough. This is when the Intermediate series or Series 2 becomes valuable.

But you shouldn’t replace Primary Series right away with this new routine. Slowly, you should build it up with a yoga teacher to achieve smooth transition until you can do the Series 2 five days a week.

7. Advanced Series

If you mastered all of the above and have enough flexibility for higher levels of Ashtanga routines, you can slowly transition to the Advance Series. Remember that this part requires a lot of endurance and strength so don’t push yourself too much if your body isn’t ready yet.

This consists of about 36 postures that are combinations of the past routines you mastered. As the Series 3, you should expect gravity-defying postures. Once achieved, you will surely give your body a leveled up wellness routine. If you’re planning to proceed with this series, might as well ask a teacher to guide you through.

Every yogi should have his own cheat sheet when it comes to choices of asanas. Each Ashtanga Yoga routine mentioned here would surely be useful for your next class, especially if you’re planning to level it up. Though it’s tempting to try new postures once you see the pictures, I suggest that you take it easy and follow the Ashtanga progression.

Are you leveling up your yogi life? Share your thoughts with us!

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Ashtanga Yoga Cheat Sheet: Top 7 Routines You Shouldn’t Miss

by ashtangayoga time to read: 4 min
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