Previously, we looked at what Ashtanga yoga is, the theory behind it, and how the poses are integral to this form of yoga. Now we’ll get into what a typical class might be like and how this form of yoga may help with stress and anxiety.
If you sign up for an Ashtanga yoga class, your teacher will help teach you and the other students the order of the poses, which are typically from the first or second series. If you continue with the classes and get really good at these series, then you might be able to start doing a self-led class, where you can practice your Ashtanga yoga series at your own pace. In the world of yoga, this is referred to as “Mysore style”. Although many students enjoy being in a studio with other Ashtanga yoga fans, all working on the exercises together with a teacher’s help, this is also a good form of yoga to work on at home; again, once the basic poses are second nature. Ashtanga yoga tends to give students a really good workout, and so as forms of yoga go, it’s pretty popular.
A lot of people practice Ashtanga, and really, just about any form of yoga, as a way to combat stress, tension, and anxiety. I read an interesting article today that said that just about every health issue that doctors are seeing these days has a stress element to it. So looking for ways that we can help reduce our stress as well as help our bodies respond to it better are both great ideas.
In researching how Ashtanga yoga in particular can help with these health issues, I found some articles that suggest that certain poses are helpful for reducing stress. For example, back bends, longer stretches and the child’s pose, which you do by kneeling down and reaching your hands forward may all help. The latter pose is especially good for releasing tension in the neck and back.
The focused breathing that Ashtanga and other forms of yoga typically use can also help with relieving stress and anxiety. Many people feel better after doing this form of yoga.