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What is Ashtanga yoga?

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Quick Answer

Ashtanga yoga is a form of yoga that derives from the ancient text known as the Yoga Korunta, and a portion of the series contains therapy measures that build stamina and cleanse the body of toxins. Ashtanga means "eight limbs," referring to the eight limbs of yoga.

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The Ashtanga method has been interpreted by yoga masters Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and T. Krishnamacharya from the ancient text. They claim it is a system that was created by Vamana Rishi.

One series is called Yoga Mala, which translates into "yoga therapy." The series includes such exercises as inversions and seated poses, and these sessions provide therapy to ailing parts of the body. The second part is known as Nadi Shodana, meaning "nervous system purification." This series provides relief to the nervous system, and it comprises of various stands and additional poses.

There are series that have been broken down into four sections called Sthira Bhaga, otherwise known as "divine stability." These are stability exercises that are usually reserved for experienced practitioners, and very few students practice sessions in these categories.

Ashtanga yoga can be practiced at home or led by a teacher. A teacher usually conducts lessons in the first and second series, and students can practice independently once they understand the basics.

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