Yes, Ashtanga is the perfect yoga practice for beginners! And yes, it is physically challenging but also very adoptable! In its origin, ashtanga is a self-practice, you practice at your own pace to the rhythm of your breath. You learn posture by posture together with your teacher, so the posture will be modified to your level of flexibility and strength. Unless it’s a Led class, the teacher will just wander around and assist personally when it’s needed. First you will learn the primary series. This logic of the sequence is progressive, so one posture prepares for the next one. Step – by – step you learn the series by heart and will progress.
Despite the strict traditional order, modern vinyasa yoga is based on a lot of ashtanga postures, maybe to prepare you so one day you become an ashtangi 🙂 Here are my top 5 ashtanga yoga poses for beginners that anyone can do!
1: Surya Namaskar A – Sun Salutation A
I know it’s not one pose, but it’s the perfect warm up to get your blood circulating and bring you into your breath and body. Just a couple of salutes you can do anytime, anywhere, and you will already notice the difference in body and mind after. The simplest yoga postures like Up- and Downward- facing dog are accessed in a floaty way, and the transition in-between gives opportunity for a nice spinal wave, one key to longevity. Make sure you adjust, depending on your shoulder and core strength, in chaturanga you might want to bring your knees down and then the chest. And day by day it will get easier!
2: Prasarita Padottanasana – Wide-Legged Forward Fold
This standing posture provides a good adjustable amount of stretch in the back, hips and hamstrings. Ashtanga tradition includes 4 variations of this asana, and there are no limits to get creative with different arm variations.
3: Marichyasana C – Sage Marichis’ C
The Sage Marichis’ posture No. C is the perfect introduction to spinal twists. Sitting, the parameter of leg strength is out and you can focus 100% on screwing from your chest, using one arm on the floor and potentially a little push through the other elbow towards the knee to adjust yourself with the opening that feels right for your body.
4: Baddha Konasana – Bound angle
Sometimes referred to as the butterfly pose, this yogi sit will open your groins and hips. Again, the level of deepness is up to the practitioner, start with more space between heels and hips and slowly approximate, potentially the ashtangi folds forward.
5: Urdhva Dhanurasana – Upward Facing Bow
It is indeed my favorite posture! Such a never ending journey that demands 150% focus into all parts of the body. Beginners start with so-called bridge pose, getting hips and thighs used to reach for the sealing while transferring energy through the heels. Later on, strong arms come into play, palms placed next to the ears on blocks or the floor you will equally push through arms, shoulders and heels and add the full heart opening.