What Are The Poses In Ashtanga Yoga


Ashtanga Yoga is a type of yogic practice that originated in India. It is also known as Power Yoga because of its intense and vigorous style. This form of yoga consists of certain poses, or asanas, that are linked with breathing techniques known as Ujjayi breathing (victorious breath). Ashtanga yoga emphasizes a continuous flow through the poses and has many physical and mental benefits for those who practice it regularly. It increases flexibility, strength, and coordination while conditioning the muscles and calming the mind. Additionally, it increases energy levels in both body and mind while teaching practitioners to be present in their practice. The poses of Ashtanga Yoga typically fall into six series: primary series (Yoga Chikitsa), intermediate series (Nadi Shodhana), advanced A (Sthira Bhaga), advanced B (Yogaraja), fourth series (Karma Mukti) and fifth series (Shiva Samhita). Each sequence emphasizes different aspects of practice such as backbending or forward bending so practitioners can work towards mastering an entire sequence over time. Common postures include sun salutations, standing poses, seated poses, forward bends, backbends, twists and inversions. These postures work together to stretch the spine from all directions, strengthen the core muscles and provide deep relaxation for the body and mind.

Overview of the Primary Series and Its Postures

Ashtanga Yoga is a style of yoga that emphasizes postures sequenced together in a specific order, along with synchronized breathing practices. The Primary Series, or Yoga Chikitsa, is the most important and foundational series. It consists of five groups of poses linked together by jump-throughs and Sun Salutations, known as Vinyasas.

The first group of poses consists of standing postures that focus on strengthening and stretching the muscles and bones, as well as warming up the spine. This includes Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) and II (Virabhadrasana II), Triangle pose (Trikonasana), Half Moon pose (Ardha Chandrasana), Extended Side Angle pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana), Revolved Triangle pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana) and Side Steps both ways.

The second group focuses on seated poses targeting the hips, hamstrings and abdominal region. This contains Bound Angle pose (Baddha Konasana), Seated Forward Bending Pose (Pascimottanasana), Sit Cross LeggedSpread Leg Series both sides(Marichyasana III & Supta Padangusthasan Series both sides).

Thirdly are two inverted poses which have tremendous restorative effects due to their effect on the nervous system; legs up the wall which helps to reduce stress in the neck while calming organs such as urinary tract problems specifically.

Finally there is an integral part of Ashtanga Sequence namely the back bends which consist of Cobra Pose(Bhujangasana), Upward Plank Pose(Purvotthanasa), Upward Facing Dog Pose(Urdhva Mukha Svanahansa) and Locust Pose(Salabhasna) all of which will help create flexibility in your back while purifying your body from within.

Sun Salutation A & B

Sun Salutation A & B, two poses in Ashtanga yoga, are fundamental to any yoga practice. Sun Salutation A is a sequence of postures that warm up the entire body while opening the hips and chest. With each pose, you draw attention to your breath and physical alignment.

The sequence begins with a standing pose called Mountain Pose, or Tadasana. This pose helps bring awareness to your body’s center of gravity. You can modify the posture by bringing your feet together if needed. Next, inhale as you reach your arms over head into Upward Salute at the same time arching gently backwards. On an exhale lower your arms as you hinge at the hips and fold forward into Standing Forward Bend.

Inhale then lift halfway up with a flat back for a slight back bend known as Halfway Lift. The next posture is a Plank Pose where you come into a push-up position from resting on your fours. Once securely settled in Plank Pose, make sure to tuck your toes and press firmly into your hands before lowering all the way down onto your belly for Cobra Pose or Upward Facing Dog if that’s more comfortable for you. Releasing out of Cobra brings you back onto sternum for Downward Facing Dog”a full body stretch that’s great for releasing residual tension in calves and hamstrings as well as realigning spine and hips properly before hopping both feet together in between hands again ready to start the sequence all over again!

Seated Poses

Standing Poses: Tadasana, Utkatasana, Virabhadrasana I and II, Parvatasana, Trikonasana

Inversions: Sarvangasana, Halasana, Karnapidasana, Baddha Konasana Padangusthasana

Backbends: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog), Dhanurasna (Bow Pose), Kapotasena

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Twists: Ardha Matsyendrasen, Bharadvajassen, Marichyassen C.

Balance Poses: Vrksanasa (Tree Pose), Garudanasan (Eagle Pose)

Additionally there are arm balances such as Bakasana (Crane Pose), Padma Koundinyanasan (Lotus variation of Crane pose), Astavakrasna (eight angle pose). Finishing postures include Savasanacelebrating the practice & Shavasanasecuring the benefits. Pranayamas & meditation are also a key part of Ashtanga Yoga practice.


Forward Bends: Paschimottanasana, Janu Sirsasana

Twists: Marichyasana III, Ardha Matsyendrasana

Inversions: Sirsasana, Salamba Sarvangasana

Standing Poses: Utthita Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana I & II

Balances: Vrksasana, Natarajasana

Seated Poses: Dandayamna Bharmana, Upavishta Konasana.

Ashtanga yoga is a popular style of yoga that follows an eight-limbed path of yoga as outlined by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. The poses in Ashtanga yoga include backbends (such as Urdhva Mukha Svananasana and Bhujapidasana), forward bends (like Paschimottanasana and Janu Sirsasna), twists (Marichyasalala III and Ardha Matsyendrasana), inversions (Sirsasa and Salamba Sarvangansa), standing poses (Utthitha Trikonansa, Virabhadra II ), balances (Vrksaiada, Nataraisarta ), and seated poses (Dandayama Tamil Bharmana Sant Upavisht Konasa ). These poses help to open the body and build strength. Additionally, the breath is key to the practice of Ashtanga yoga as it helps to contain energy during each pose. Through mindful use of breath work following the flow of vinyasa poses one can deepen their practice of Ashtanga yoga.

Finishing Poses and Binding Poses Explained

Halasana (Plow Pose): This pose is a deeply restorative posture that helps to stimulate the digestive and circulatory systems. Halasana helps to improve balance, flexibility, restful sleep, reduce stress and anxiety. It opens up the hip and shoulder joints while stretching out the hamstrings, neck and spine.

Karnapidasana (Ear Pressure Pose): This pose stretches out the spine and releases backaches while stimulating the spleen, bladder, prostate glands, and colon. This pose also strengthens upper body strength while calming the mind. The chest is lifted off the ground as you inquire fingers on both sides of your head meeting at the third eye.

Ustrasana (Camel Pose): Ustrasana is often considered one of the most challenging postures in Ashtanga Yoga. This posture lengthens your spine by arching your back backwards so you can hold onto your calves or heels with each hand in a deep heart opening stretch. This invigorating pose stimulates the liver, kidneys, lungs and stomach organs while improving digestion and eliminating any stresses from being held in the upper thoracic region (shoulders & mid-back).

Inversions and Arm Balances

In Ashtanga Yoga, there are 6 primary poses that make up the foundation of the practice: asanas, pranayama, dharana, bandha (energy lock), drishti (gazing point) and mudra. In addition to these six primary poses, other poses are also featured in order to develop strength and flexibility throughout the body. These include standing poses such as Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Vinyasa Krama, Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), and Urdhva Mukha Svanasan (Upward-Facing Dog Pose); forward bends like Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) and Upavishta Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend); backbends such as Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Kapotasana (Pigeon/King Pigeon Pose); twists such as Marichyasana I & III; and inversions such as Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand/Downward Facing Tree Pose) and Padangusthasana (Toe Balance). Finally, arm balances like Bakasana (Crow Pose), Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose) can help build focus and resilience through playful exploration.

Dissolving and Relaxing Through the Closing Sequence

The closing sequence of Ashtanga yoga consists of two poses: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana and Savasana. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or Bridge Pose, is a supine pose in which the practitioner focuses on melting down into the earth while opening their heart center. The pose helps open up the chest, shoulders and abdominal muscles to release tension and allows practitioners to let go of any built-up stress from practice. It also strengthens the back, allowing for a deeper stretching of the posterior chain muscles located in the neck and spine, so that practitioners can learn how to relax and soften tension for ultimate relief.

Savasana, or Corpse Pose, is done after all other poses have been completed. This is when the practitioner lies still and flat on the ground with limbs spread about two feet apart in a relaxed position that releases held tension from practice. During this pose it’s important to stay aware of your body and breath as it helps cultivate inner awareness which can be transferred into your regular life outside of practice. Practicing Savasana helps purify mental exhausting by finding stillness within movement and by going deep inward we can start dissolving our ego in order to create a fuller connection with ourselves on a spiritual level.

Tips for Practicing Ashtanga Yoga at Home

Ashtanga Yoga is a powerful practice that involves synchronizing breath and movement while performing a series of postures, or poses. Common poses in Ashtanga Yoga can be divided into five categories: Standing Postures, Seated Postures, Inversions, Back Bends, and Core Strengthening exercises.

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To practice Ashtanga Yoga at home, you should start with the primary series and learn the first six standing postures. This includes sun salutations, down dog posture (Adho Mukha Svanasana), warrior I (Virabhadrasana I), warrior II (Virabhadarasana II), triangle pose (Trikonasana) and half moon pose (Ardha Chandrasna). These standing poses will build your strength with foundation and give you stability. After that you can move to seated postures such as Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana) and seated forward fold (Pashimottanasana).

Inversions such as shoulder stand (Sarvangasana) and headstands can help improve your balance and energize the body. For backbends, you should start slowly by practicing locust pose (Salabhasana) followed by bow pose (Dhanurasana). Finally for core strengthening yoga postures like boat pose (Navasana), plank pose (Kumbhakasana), four limbed staff pose (Chaturangadandasana) will increase strength in your core muscles.

Always remember to listen carefully to your body when doing any type of yoga activity; take frequent breaks between poses if needed. Practicing each pose correctly ensures that you gain all the physical benefits of Ashtanga Yoga with minimum risk of injury or unnecessary strain on joints. It is recommended that you seek advice from a qualified instructor if possible.

Common Problems and How to Avoid Them

The poses in Ashtanga Yoga are sequenced in specific order. The primary series includes a warm up, Sun Salutations A & B, standing sequence, seated sequence and finishing sequence.

Common problems practitioners can face include feeling the poses are too challenging or too easy, making progress too quickly without proper alignment, and being intimidated by more advanced students during classes. To avoid these problems it is important to find a teacher that is supportive and can explain poses and modifications clearly depending on the practitioner’s experience level. Practitioners should also practice at their own pace and stay mindful of their physical limitations. Additionally it is important to spend some time practicing at home regularly to gain strength, flexibility, balance and confidence. Doing so will help them progress without hurting themselves or losing interest over time hope that helps!


Ashtanga yoga is an ancient form of yoga that offers tremendous physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. It is well known for its strong emphasis on alignment and breath-synchronized movements. The poses of Ashtanga yoga are divided into four groups: standing sequence, seated sequence, finishing poses, and optional poses.

The standing sequence includes warm-up exercises to awaken your body such as the Sun Salutation and Moon Salutation series, along with a number of postures that strengthen the legs and build energy in the spine. This section also incorporates standing balances like Crow Pose (Bakasana) with one leg versions included as part of Level Three of Ashtanga Yoga.

The seated sequence works on the hip joints while building structural stability in the spine with backbends and twists. These postures can also help reduce stress via relaxation techniques including supported shoulderstands (Sarvangasana) and Forward Folds (Pada Hastasana).

Finishing poses bring balance between effort and surrendering into prayer or meditation while beginning or ending an Ashtanga yoga practice session. This section includes traditional Savasana along with variations like Legs Up Wall Pose (Viparita Karani).

Finally, optional poses add variety for more experienced practitioners by drawing from other styles of yoga such as hatha. These include Bhujangasana (cobra), Dhanurasana (bow), Matsyendrasana (twist), Sirsasana II (tripod headstand) etcetera.

By exploring these different forms of Ashtanga yoga you can reap from its many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits such as enhanced flexibility, improved stamina, increased concentration power, heightened awareness levels and inner peace among others. Therefore be sure to incorporate this wondrous ancient practice into your daily routine if you want to experience its magic inside out!

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