Practicing Ashtanga Yoga
The purpose of vinyasa is to build heat in the body, to warm and thin the blood. This improves circulation and removes impurities from the internal organs. These impurities are then eliminated in a profuse, purifying sweat.
The resulting purification of the body and nervous system is aided by a special system of deep breathing called ujjayi pranayama, or ‘victorious breath’.
Internal muscular locks called bandhas are integral to this style of resonant breathing. The bandhas also help to stabilise the spine, bringing lightness and health to the body.
Ashtanga yoga is learnt slowly, step by step. This takes great patience and steadfastness of mind to accept where the body is in a posture and allow the body and posture to unfold over time. It is not uncommon for it to take months or years to understand and be able to safely do a posture (asana).
Finally, Ashtanga yoga steadies the mind by focusing the gaze on specific dristhis or ‘focus points’. The focus on posture, breath and gaze is called Tristhanam and is what purifies the body, nervous system and mind.
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