5 Ashtanga Yoga Poses to Try
Ashtanga Yoga is one of the most difficult styles of yoga, but it’s also of the most rewarding. It is an extremely vigorous yoga practice that puts your mind, body, and breath to the test. The poses require you to synchronize your breath through your flow, which produces incredible internal heat that detoxifies your body.
We sat down with one of our favorite Chicago yoga instructors, Alexia Bauer, to get her expert opinion on the best Ashtanga Yoga poses to try. She is a teacher at Yogaview in Chicago, and specializes in making crazy hard yoga poses look easy.
P.S - Alexia is in all of the pictures below, and is sporting a homage to her homeland, Guatemala, in our Guatemala Leggings. Stay tuned for our up-and-coming blog all about Alexia and her experience in Guatemala and being a Guatemalan woman , so follow us on IG, @jorikiyoga, to be one of the first readers of this exciting piece!
If you are looking to build your strength, challenge your flexibility, and improve your stamina, Ashtanga Yoga is for you. Check out these five Ashtanga yoga poses to try, to get you started on your journey to a strong and beautiful body and mind.
1. Bakasana (Crow Pose)
This pose can be difficult to master, but there is a lot of self-discovery to be had on your journey to perfection. It is very common for you to fall straight on your face in your first few attempts, but don’t get discouraged! With practice, comes perfection. You just might want to be sure that you have a soft surface to practice on and possibly a partner there to watch you. Though the falling-on-the-floor-face-first aspect isn’t super appealing, the benefits of this pose definitely outweigh the initial negatives. Bakasana strengthens your core, wrists, hand, and legs, while also putting your balance and coordination to the ultimate test.
2. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Though this pose may look like a simple backbend, it can require a great deal of endurance, stamina, and finding your inner awareness. As you open your chest and shoulders, then lean back into this pose, you will feel your spine stretching and your nervous system being stimulated. This great yoga pose is credited with anxiety and stress relief, as well as changing your perspective. After all, you are bending your back in the opposite way you are used to, and yogis claim that this pose inspires their creativity. Try this pose if you need to feel ~inspired~ and reap its physical and mental benefits.
Bonus tip: If you’re feelin’ a little crazy, stick your tongue out and exhale your stale breath while you are in this position. You will feel the bad vibes escape your body and be overcome with peace.
3. Supta Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose)
This yoga pose might not be for the flexibility challenged. Some even say that Supta Kurmasana is one of the most difficult Ashtanga yoga poses to master. It requires deep external rotation in your hips, a flexible spine, and a deep inner rotation in your shoulder joints. Alexia sure makes it look easy! With this challenging yoga pose, you will feel your body be put to the test, in the most awesome way. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t master this pose on your first try, be patient and listen to your body as your practice.
When attempting this pose, a breathable and lightweight legging is necessary. You need a legging that flows with you, and doesn’t constrict your movements. Our Guatemala Legging (pictured above) is a perfect fit for Ashtanga Yoga.
4. Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose)
Mulabandhasana is another advanced Ashtanga Yoga pose. As you practice this yoga pose you will feel your hips open and activate your Root Chakra, which is associated with a sense of grounding (which we all need sometimes), stability, and security (yes, please!). It is important to try to synchronize your breath and stay in this pose as long as you can. Not only does this yoga pose offer you a super cool photo opp, but it also boosts your immune system which can definitely be necessary during these long, Chicago winters.
5. Pasasana (Noose Pose)
This pose may look familiar to you if you have ever played the popular game, Twister. It is an intermediate Ashtanga yoga pose that makes you question what your body can do, and what it should be able to do (just like that crazy game!). This pose is also a secret weapon for yogis who are facing several ailments. It is known for relieving asthma, indigestion, menstrual discomfort (hallelujah!), and stress in you upper body. If you are suffering from any of these discomforts, we recommend you attempt this pose and feel your body help heal itself.
We are challenging you to give these great five Ashtanga yoga poses a try. Ashtanga Yoga might be a difficult practice of yoga, but it is incredibly rewarding, and boy, will you look cool doing it. These poses offer benefits far from simply improving your flexibility, and can unlock a new mindset for you. Last but not least, we recommend trying one of Alexia’s classes at Yogaview to get started. We hope to see you there!