4 Elements of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

3 mn read

Yoga has been a part of Indian culture for more than 5000 years. It is the best way to connect with your true self, and at the same time, gain control over your mind and body. With its growing popularity, yoga has garnered attention from the West from yoga lovers searching for peace and calm in a chaotic world.

A popular style of yoga is the Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga which is the most active form of yogic practice. This style of yoga generates inner heat and purifies your entire body. It helps your mind find clarity in a stressful situation. Let us find out a bit about Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga – The Origins

Although Vamana is credited with the origins of this yoga style, but Ashtanga Vinyasa achieved popularity during the 20th century when it was popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois, a disciple of Sri T Krishnamacharya. The Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga helps you experience the full benefits of a yogic practice without renouncing the world.

Let us now understand a bit about the different concepts of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Concepts

The name Ashtanga Vinyasa originates from two important terms found in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, which contains the basic principles of the sacred art of yoga.

The term Ashtanga refers to the “eight limbs of yoga”, and Vinyasa refers to “right placement” or the correct sequencing of yoga asanas. You should enroll in a Yoga Alliance certification to know how exactly Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga helps you unlock your true potential.

4 Elements of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga combines four key elements in its practice namely Breathing, Asanas, Bandhas, and Drishti. It is time we check out what each of these contains.

1. Breath

Breathing is an essential part of the yogic culture. It is a powerful way to help you generate energy in the body and relieve stress. Unfortunately, most of us breathe without giving it too much attention.

The first step you should take into consideration during an Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice is breathing, which increases your awareness of the self. The entire basis of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga depends on breathing and the technique of ujjayi.

The Ujjayi technique lengthens your breathing to ensure the air moves continuously in and out of your lungs.

2. Asanas

The Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice consists of 6 pre-defined series including Primary, Secondary, Advanced A, B, C, and D. These asanas include sun salutation, backbends, finishing poses, and seated asanas. Each series of this yoga style takes at least an hour and a half to complete.

3. Drishti

Drishti, also known as gaze point is pre-defined for every Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice. For example, the focus points include your nose (Nasagrai), to the side (Parsva), the brow (Broomadhya); their purpose is to help you focus on a single object during the practice.

The observation of a focus point brings a meditative element into your yogic practice.

Also Read: Vinyasa yoga for weight loss

4. Bandhas

The Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga style employs the use of Bandhas (Internal Locks) to help you overcome the various issues associated with flexibility as you age. The two Bandhas in this style of yoga is Moola Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha.

The Moola Bandha meaning root helps focus on contracting your muscles of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor muscles are a bit hard to detect but help lift your entire body. On the other hand, the Uddiyana means upward flying, and using this particular bandha tones the abdominal area of your body. It does a lot when it comes to keeping your back healthy.

Well, these were all four primary elements of an Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice!


The Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga might be a hard and demanding style of yoga but it offers some major benefits include improved flexibility, less body fat, lower blood pressure, and prevention of major injuries among others.

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