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Ashtanga half second series

We take a closer look at the Primary and Intermediate series of Ashtanga Yoga. What are they and when can we progress through the series?

Six series

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is made up of six series (Primary, Intermediate and four Advanced Series) each of which has a set order of poses.
Each of the six series begins with Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations) 5 of the A variation and 5 of the B variation, followed by the standing sequence. All the series end with the same finishing sequence. It is only the middle section which has a different group of asanas and focus depending on the series. Traditionally the poses are always practised in a specific order and are taught in a Mysore style with the teacher giving the practitioner a new pose when they feel they are ready. Read more about the background of Ashtanga Yoga.

The Ashtanga primary series

The Ashtanga Primary Series is called Yoga Chikitsa, meaning yoga therapy, because of the cleansing and toning effect it has on both body and mind. On a physical level the asanas (poses) of the Primary Series build strength and flexibility in the body, loosening tight muscles and realigning and detoxifying the body and nervous system. The series begins with forward bends, then twists and hip openers with a vinyasa between each asana.
On a mental level, through regular practice focus, willpower, mind-body awareness and confidence are improved as we overcome the mental obstacles to our practice. On a subtle level the Primary series works therapeutically to clear obstacles in the energy channels in the body (known as Nadis).
This clearing of obstacles allows the Prana to flow more freely so the body and mind are therefore allowed to work more effectively.

Asanas are not the goal. They are a vehicle to access a deeper internal awareness

David Swenson
The Ashtanga Intermediate Series or second series, is known as Nadi Shodhana – meaning Nerve Cleansing. This is because of the focus on backbend asanas. The backbends encourage and maintain the suppleness of the spine and as well as working on opening the energy channels allowing Prana to flow freely. (Nadi Shodhana is also the name given to Alternate Nostril Pranayama).

About the Instructor

Meera Joshi

3 years experience
Jason Crandell transitioned to yoga and meditation from a career in corporate retail over 10 years ago. Crandell used that experience to support social justice non-profits and teach meditation and yoga inside jails.

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