Ashtanga Yoga explained

We’ve started a weekly series to help you navigate the confusing terminology of yoga. Beginner or not, this ‘yoga dictionary’ explains what your yoga-loving friends and teachers mean when they say hatha, kundalini, vinyasa, yin, etc.

Find us here, every Tuesday, quenching the curiosity surrounding a bizarre yogi word.

This week’s term:

Ashtanga Yoga

More demanding than the Iyengar yoga of last week, Ashtanga yoga is a style of yoga practice usually described as more athletic.

Many vinyasa-style yoga classes draw their inspiration from Ashtanga yoga, which typically involves doing a series of different yoga postures and holding each one for five breaths. With Ashtanga, you’ll always perform the exact same poses in the exact same order.

Ashtanga is an uninterrupted flow of yoga poses, so you’ll frequently be shown a posture and then must learn to stick to it or adjust with help from your teacher.

Physical difficulty: Ashtanga, being more athletic, requires greater mental and physical focus as you work through the uninterrupted series of poses. The key (as with any yoga) is to control your breath through each movement.

Best part of Ashtanga: Once you get the series down, you can focus in on perfecting each pose, so it is a great way for beginners to master a series of poses without worrying about upcoming variations.

If you feel like taking your yoga practice and learning beyond the studio, check out some yoga holidays and retreats and indulge your inner yogini/yogi.

Last week’s term: Iyengar Yoga