Ashtanga Yoga – also known as “Eight Limbed Yoga” – is the most traditional form of yoga that is popularised by the renowned yogi Tirumalai Krishnamacharya and his disciples K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar and T.K.V Desikachar.
The practice of Ashtanga Yoga is a holistic approach towards physical and mental well-being through the emphasis on breath regulation (Pranayama), synchronised with a series of postures (Asana). Our breathing is very much influenced by our thoughts and emotions – our breathing is usually deep and regular when we are calm and relaxed, and shallow and irregular when we are stressed, anxious or angry – and this in turn will affect our heart rate and blood pressure. Through the practice of Pranayama, we are able to bring awareness to our breathing and consciously take deep and regular breaths. Research has shown that the benefits of pranayama include reduced stress and anxiety, lowered and stabilised blood pressure, an increase in energy level and a sense of calmness and relaxation.
There are six series of asana in Ashtanga Yoga, of which the most important is the Primary Series, also known as Yoga for Health aimed at promoting the detoxification process and aligning the body. On a physical level, these postures work towards correcting the alignment of the body by improving the flexibility and strength of the skeletal muscles. Over the years, many of our students have seen an improvement in their postures, along with enhanced flexibility, strength and stamina. Apart from the physical benefits, these postures also work on the physiological aspects of the body. During the practice of asana, the skeletal muscles contractions help to increase the circulation of lymphatic fluid in the system, thus promoting the removal of toxins and boosting the immune system.
At OhmSantih Yoga, our Ashtanga Yoga classes in Singapore are centred on the Primary Series and offered in 3 levels – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
Even though yoga may look easy, there is still the risk of getting injured especially if we try to force ourselves into a pose that we are not ready for. Therefore we keep our classes small with a maximum of 6 students per class, so we can focus on guiding each student as to the correct way to execute each pose with proper alignment, to understand their limitations and teach them techniques to help them improve. This way, they can reap the maximum benefits out of the practice, and when they complete all 3 levels, they will be able to do a self-practice safely without the risk of injuries.
Each class is 90 minutes and generally consists of a cleansing exercise (kriya), a breathing exercise (pranayama), postures workout (asana) and lastly, a relaxation exercise (savasana) – all in a sequential manner.