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Ashtanga Asana Sequence

Many people confuse the Ashtanga Asana Sequence with Surya Namaskara or Salutation to the Sun (yoga sun salutation). Surya Namaskara is the Sanskrit name for the series of asanas that are done daily to worship the sun as it was done in the old days. Now, this traditional yoga sun salutation series is done to improve flexibility, skin tone, reduce depression, awake the spirit and improve your overall awareness and health. Yoga adepts get even more from Surya Namaskara because they also include breathing and meditation techniques and balancing of chakra energy flows.

Ashtanga Asana Sequence

Where does the ashtanga asana fit in? Well, ashtanga is one of the asanas that make the sun salutation. Ashtange Namaskara means the salute with 8 points (make that 8 contact points with the earth: 2 feet, 2 knees, 2 hands, chest and chin).

Another Meaning?

Some may refer to the ashtanga sequence as the proper sequence of body parts touching the ground while moving into Ashtanga Namaskara. Ideally, the contact should be simultaneous.

If not possible at your stage of yoga development, then you should aim at achieving this order:
  • 1. Hands and toes

  • 2. Knees

  • 3. Chest

  • 4. Chin

It's important to note that your lower legs, thighs, bum and abdomen shouldn't touch the yoga mat and you should be holding your breath while being in this position.

Ashtanga asana sequence

The ashtanga asana sequence is normally done between the downward facing dog (also called mountain pose or Parvatasana) and cobra pose (also called Bhujangasana). There are many variation of asana order for the sun salutation. In the one shown below, the ashtanga asana would fit on the third row, between the first and second picture.

yoga sun salutation

See where the ashtanga asana sequence fits in the yoga sun salutation.

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