Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is a vigorous type of yoga practice that focuses on broad bodily movements and stretching, as well as connecting each movement with the flow of breath. Rather than simple stretching or calm lengthening exercises, ashtanga vinyasa yoga teaches an individual to combine a cardiovascular type workout with the yoga practice. Upper body exercises, such as those that work the abs and biceps, are commonly built into the yoga sequence to increase strength and stability in the core muscles. Ashtanga yoga may also be performed in hot temperatures, what is commonly known as hot yoga, which is said to aid in detoxification and increase the benefits of the vigorous yoga workout.
In ashtanga vinyasa yoga, the main focus of the practice centers around sun salutations, which are yoga movements that help connect the body with breath and increase energy circulation. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga always reverts to sun salutations in between other postures, and incorporates quiet meditative postures at the end of the practice. Inversion postures are also incorporated within the ashtanga yoga practice to aid in increasing blood flow to the mind and activating certain chakra centers. Most of these postures rely on balance and coordination, two abilities exercised and strengthened throughout the entire practice.
With ashtanga vinyasa yoga, a practitioner uses broader and vigorous movements based on traditional yoga postures taught in other practices. This type of yoga uses movement based on cardio exercises to speed up heart rate and increase energy. Each movement is connected with an inhale breath or an exhale breath, which is said to help energize the body and spirit and provide detoxification. Certain twisting postures performed in a hot environment with high temperatures are also used in ashtanga yoga to help increase the amount of toxins released through the breath.
Many upper body exercises are used in ashtanga vinyasa yoga to help increase strength in the core muscles of the body, as well as the upper arms. Yoga push ups and ab exercises are often a component of ashtanga yoga, and the time spent on each of these movements is dictated by the amount of breath inhaled or exhaled. The back stretch pose, which is often called upward facing dog, is commonly used after yoga push ups to create more flexibility in the spine. These movements are often repeated throughout the ashtanga yoga practice in a quicker, more vigorous manner.