Ashtanga Yoga, also known as Power Yoga is an active, flowing system of yoga that synchronizes breath and movement. Regular Ashtanga Yoga practice results in greater relaxation, breath control, endurance, strength and flexibility. Because it focuses on breath control, release of energy, focus of gaze and intention and smooth, strong, sequential movement, it is the perfect companion for such active athletic pursuits as running and participation in sports. Many focused active sports like running or competing can leave an athlete with very tight hips and hamstrings. Intensive workout and performance can also cause a great deal of lower back strain. Ashtanga Yoga is an active and athletic form of yoga that can act as the antidote to these problems and provide an excellent complement to an average fitness workout.
In an Ashtanga Yoga class, an athlete will face some formidable challenges. Classes are usually an hour-and-a-half long and are conducted in a very warm room (about 90 degrees). The heated environment helps prevent injuries by increasing flexibility in the joints and muscles. It is easy to attain a high degree of focus in an Ashtanga Yoga class because the room is always kept very distraction-free, pleasant and clean. An Ashtanga Yoga class begins with the Primary Series targeting the lower back, hips and hamstrings. These are some areas that are often in need of attention in serious athletes. Following the Primary Series, you move into several smooth, fluid, challenging repetitions of the Sun Salutation. This series of poses stretches and strengthens the entire body while adding to flexibility, focus and composure. The Sun Salutation Series is an excellent warm-up and cool-down series to perform before and after any form of exercise.
Some of the great athletic benefits of practicing Ashtanga Yoga include a more balanced level of strength and a strengthening of the core muscles. By having a good balance of strength between upper and lower body, serious athletes can avoid many injuries. Strengthening of the core muscles improves posture and overall strength, which also helps prevent injuries and improve performance. The focus on connecting breath and movement that is stressed in Ashtanga Yoga can help any athlete or any person involved in any sort of challenging physical activity.
This technique can be practiced while running, swimming, dancing or playing a sport. It helps the athlete get â€œin the zoneâ€ by bringing a meditative element to exercise. Keeping the muscles well-oxygenated further helps prevent injury. If you are injured, you can continue to practice Ashtanga Yoga by making modifications to the poses and by changing the length of time you hold some poses. You may want to hold a pose for a shorter period of time to give an injured area a break or hold a pose longer to encourage healing. It is a very individual matter. By continuing modified practice while injured, you can stay flexible and strong and heal more quickly. Ashtanga Yoga is very convenient. Classes all follow the same process, so no matter where you are, if you can find an Ashtanga Yoga class, you can work out. Of course, you can and should also perform the Sun Salutation on your own every morning and every evening along with a flowing Ashtanga Yoga session as a great way to begin and end your day.