Opening and Main Sequence for Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series

Opening Sequence

The sun salutation is like the preface of a book. This fundamental series is performed five times at the beginning of the Ashtanga yoga practice. The aim is to condition the mind for the session as well as to warm-up and strengthen the back and hamstrings.
There are two sets of sun salutation sequences. The first sequence has nine asanas (postures or positions) while the second sequence has seventeen asanas. The second sequence is just an extension of the first sequence. The sun salutation is then followed by a series of six standing postures that aim to strengthen the core. Mastering the opening sequence will provide a good base for anyone who would like to be a practitioner.

After executing the opening sequence, the yogi chooses from one of the six fundamental series of Ashtanga yoga poses. The primary series is called Yoga Chikitsa or Yoga Therapy. This series is composed of movements that aim to purify and restore physical health. It is performed only after warm-up to prevent injuries. The overall effect of this series is the progressive strengthening of the body.

ashtanga primary series

Main Sequence

In the primary series, the movements are arranged in such a manner that each asana (posture or position) builds on the previous one. Postures in this series are primarily twists and forward folds that prepare the spine for back bending poses performed in the finishing sequence and intermediate series. Doing the opening sequence is strongly advised before proceeding with the primary series execution. Doing so will ensure that the yogi is protected from injuries and that the flexibility needed to smoothly transition to the next pose, has been developed.

The intermediate series of Ashtanga yoga poses is called Nāḍī Shodhana or Nerve Cleansing. The purpose of executing this sequence is to open and clear the subtle energy channels in the body. Proper execution of the poses in this series requires a higher level of strength and a sufficiently cleansed body. Therefore, mastery of the first series should be attained to maximize the benefits of nerve cleansing.
The advanced series of Ashtanga yoga poses is called the Sthira Bhagah or Steady Strength. This sequence of postures aims to strengthen the inner spirit of the yogi. Hence, advanced ashtanga yoga practitioners have more intense focus and a great degree of humility. They are also able to have a characteristic steadiness of the body and mind.

Post by: Francisco Neri Bonilla

Author: Francisco Neri Bonilla

Francisco Neri is an entrepreneur and a proven specialist in operations. With extensive background launching and managing different kinds of businesses he has more than 15 years of experience in delivering integrated marketing, logistics and digital solutions to multinational clients and companies. Francisco has extensive operating experience in different industries including corporate advertising and corporate communications, marketing solutions, specialized publications and high-profile events design and production. Francisco graduated as B.A. in law at UCAB.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s