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Asana

12 Great Ashtanga Yoga Poses and how to do it?

Ashtanga Yoga means Eight-limbed Yoga, which includes Yama (self-restraints), Niyama (observances), Asana (Posture), Pranayam (Controlling of breath), Pratyahara (Sense Control), Dharna (Focus or concentration), Dhyana (Meditation), and Samadhi (Absorption in Supreme Lord).

In this section, we’ll discuss the top most asanas in Ashtanga Yoga. Asana is nothing but the third limb of Ashtanga Yoga.

Let’s look at the top 12 Ashtanga Yoga Poses for making the body light, healthy, and strong.

Table of Contents

  1. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Hand to Big Toe Pose)
  2. Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank Pose)
  3. Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
  4. Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended side angle pose)
  5. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
  6. Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose) 
  7. Navasana (Boat Pose)
  8. Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend pose)
  9. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-legged Forward Bend Pose)
  10. Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
  11. Shirshasana (Head Stand Pose)
  12. Halasana (Plow Pose)

1) Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Hand to Big Toe Pose)

 Utthita- Hasta- Padangusthasana, Hand-to-big-toe-pose, Ashtanga-yoga, ashtanga-yoga-poses-1

In this Pose, Begin in with Tadasana and bend your left knee and bring it towards your belly. Tightly hold the outside feet and with inhalation draw the leg out as much as possible. In case the hamstrings are tight, take the help of Yoga Strap.

Hold for a few seconds there and come back to the initial position by following the steps in reverse order.

Repeat the same procedure with other leg.

See the below video: Ashtanga Yoga Poses-1

2) Chaturanga Dandasana (Low Plank Pose)

Chaturanaga, Low-plank-pose, dandasana, ashtanga-yoga-poses-2

Start from high Plank Pose (Wrists directly under the shoulders). Make sure the fingers are spread and chest must not collapse.

Pull the torso forward so that the shoulders are beyond the wrists. Slowly lower down your body till the shoulders are in line with elbows.

Draw the navel towards the spine. Stay in this position for 30 seconds and then come back to the initial position, following the steps in reverse order.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-2

3) Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita-Trikonasana, Extended-triangle-pose, ashtanga-yoga-poses-3

Stand in the middle of the mat. Jump and make the distance between the feet around 3 inches. Let your palms face forward. Extend your arms parallel to the floor. Point the right foot out and the other foot at 45 degrees inside. Now bend towards your right side and place the right hand just beside the root foot and other (left hand) perpendicular to the floor. Look at the tip of the middle finger of the left hand. Stay there for 30 seconds.

Repeat the above steps from left-hand side.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-3

4) Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended side angle pose)

Extended-side-angle-pose, Utthita-Parshvakonasana, ashtanga-yoga-poses-4

Stand in the middle of the mat. Jump and make the distance between the feet around 3 inches. Let your palms face forward. Extend your arms parallel to the floor. Point the left foot out and the other foot at 45 degrees inside.

Bend the left knee such that your knee and ankle are in line or adjust your thighs parallel to the floor. Now, extend the body over to the left leg and put your left hand beside the left foot. Take your right arm over your head and let your drishti be on the ceiling. Stay in this position for 30 seconds.

Repeat the above steps from the right side.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-4

5) Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

Utkatasana, Chair-pose, ashtanga-yoga-poses-5

Begin with the Mountain pose. Stand with the feet together. Inhale: Raise your arms in such a way that it makes an angle of around 75 degrees with the ground and joins the palms, making namaste mudra. Now spread all the fingers. Exhale: Bend your knees, keeping thighs almost parallel to the ground and knees slightly over the feet. Now, gaze directly at a point between your hands. In the last position, breathe normally.

Maintain this position for around 40 seconds. Then come back to the initial position following the steps in reverse order.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-5

6) Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose) 

Virabhadrasana, Warrior-Pose, ashtanga-yoga-poses-6

Stand with the distance of around 3 feet between your legs. Turn your right foot out and the other foot at an angle 20 degrees.

Now, rotate your waist to the right. Bend your knees with thighs parallel to the ground. Make sure ankles and knee are in same line.

Now lift the arms sideways, parallel to the ground (shoulder level) with the palms upwards. Join your hands, making namaste mudra above your head.

Fix your gaze between your hands and stay here for 5 ujjayi breaths with a smile on your face like a warrior.

Repeat the above steps on the opposite side.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-6

Navasana, Boat-Pose, ashtanga-yoga-poses-7

Lie down on your back with hands beside you. Inhale: Slowly raise your chest and legs off the ground. Let all the weight comes to your hips. Stretch your hands forward (parallel to the floor), making a slight gap between the knees and palms. Here, this will contract your abdominal muscles and you feel sensation on your navel area. Stay at this position as long as you can.

Come back to the starting position, following the steps in reverse order.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-7

8) Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend pose)

Paschimottanasana, Seated-forward-bend-pose, ashtanga-yoga-poses-8

Sit with the stretched leg forward such that the spine makes an angle of 90 degrees with the thighs. Inhale: Raise your hands above the head, facing each other.

Exhale: Go all the way forward and hold the outsides of the legs. Make sure your chest touches the thighs, chin to the knees, and head to the legs.

Stay at this position for a minute and then come to the sitting position, following the steps in reverse order.

Note: Go forward from the hip joints.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-8

9) Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-legged Forward Bend Pose)

Prasarita-Padottanasana, Wide-legged-Forward-Bend-Pose, ashtanga-yoga-poses-9

Stand on the mat, maintaining 3-4 feet distance between your legs. Make the feet parallel to each other or slightly inwards and hands on the hips.

Exhale: Bend your torso forward and let it be parallel to the ground. Then place your hands on the floor. Lifting your hips further up, go more towards the floor and place the crown of the head on the floor between your hands. Now, hold the big toes if you can.

Rest in this position for 20 seconds and then come to the initial position following the previous steps.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-9

10) Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Upward-facing-dog-pose, Ashtanga-yoga-poses-10

Lie down in a prone posture on the yoga mat. Spread your fingers and place it on the mat near the shoulders. Lift your torso, hips, knees, and legs off the ground.

Make sure the wrists and shoulders are in line and let the weight of body come to your hands and on the dorsum of the foot. Now, fix your gaze at ceiling by moving your head in upward direction.

Stay there for 40 seconds to a minute and then come to the starting position, following the steps in reverse order.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-10

11) Shirshasana (Head Stand Pose)

Ashtanga-yoga-poses-11

Sit-in Vajrasana. Go forward with folded forearms and with interlocked fingers. Place the crown of the head between the interlocked fingers.

Slowly, raise the trunk and balance it on the head such that the trunk becomes perpendicular to the floor and thighs parallel to the floor.

Now, balance your body there, and go further by straightening the legs to the vertical position. Focus your attention to some point or on the breath. Stay there as long as you can.

Come back to the initial position following the steps in reverse order.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-11

Handstand Yoga Pose

12) Halasana (Plow Pose)

Halasana, Plough-Pose, ashtanga-yoga-poses-12

Lie down on your back, keeping hands by the sides. Raise your legs off the floor by taking support of the hips, and lower back, making 90 degrees angle with the floor.

Extend your legs behind over the head, placing toes on the floor, and tailbone should point to ceiling. Also, make sure the angle between the trunk and the floor is 90 degrees. Relax your neck muscles and then gaze on the navel.

Stay in this position for 20-30 seconds and then come back to the starting position, following the steps in reverse order.

Ashtanga Yoga Poses-12

Now, you’ve learned the most important 12 Ashtanga yoga poses.

These are the best ashtanga yoga poses for keeping you healthy, fit, rejuvenating, and vigorous.

Practice the life changing ashtanga yoga poses with great care under the guidance of an expert yoga instructor. With these ashtanga yoga poses, one can achieve the spiritual benefits in additional to physical benefits.

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