f you’ve come across ashtanga yoga videos on YouTube, you may have noticed they are a bit more challenging than the typical vinyasa flow. Ashtanga yoga is a great way to add strength and flow to your yoga practice, but how do you get started as a beginner, especially if you can’t take a class?
Ashtanga yoga is well-known for its capacity to assist students in developing their own daily practice. It can be easily learned using beginner YouTube videos from home with the proper instruction and technique.
Many yogis choose ashtanga yoga for the added challenge and health benefits. However, it can be discouraging to learn if you don’t know where to start. Below, we’ll share with you the 3 best ashtanga videos on YouTube for beginners.
What is Ashtanga Yoga?
Ashtanga yoga is a modernized version of a classic Indian yoga practice created by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. It focuses on the flow and breath between exercises and is a very fluid and athletic kind of yoga that consists of a series of six levels of yoga postures done in a precise order. While it is a physically demanding discipline involving movement and flexibility, it also develops mental clarity.
Ashtanga is also a great way to include the contemplative component of yoga in your practice. Ashtanga is made up of two Sanskrit words, “Ashta” and “Anga.” Ashta is the number eight, while Anga” is a limb or bodily component. As a result, Ashtanga is the integration of the eight limbs of yoga into a single system. According to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjail, the eight limbs include:
- Yama (morals)
- Niyama (behavior)
- Asana (posture)
- Pranayama (breath)
- Pratyahara (inward focus)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (self)
If you’re familiar with vinyasa yoga, you may notice similarities between the two. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois combined Patanjali’s principles with current vinyasa yoga to create ashtanga yoga, which is performed as both exercise and meditation. The main difference between ashtanga and vinyasa yoga is that ashtanga follows a series of poses in a specific sequence, while poses in vinyasa yoga can change.
How Can I Learn Ashtanga Yoga at Home?
To begin practicing ashtanga yoga, you must first study and follow the Primary Series. This is a four-part routine that includes sun salutations, a standing sequence, a backhanding sequence, and an ending sequence. The positions are always done in this order and held for five full breaths.
While many people learn this sequence in class, it is very simple to practice at home. In-person classes are led by an instructor who will guide you through the sequences, provide alignment advice, and offer hands-on help. However, you can find many videos online that offer that same kind of help. After you’ve memorized the sequence, you’ll be able to navigate through it on your own without being guided.
Is Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners?
Ashtanga yoga is ideal for both new and experienced yogis. If you are new to ashtanga yoga, you may find the poses a bit of challenge but they aren’t impossible. There are lots of introductory videos with adaptations for beginners so you can get the most out of your practice, regardless of your age, body type, or fitness level.
The most important thing is to learn the sequence and work on performing the moves correctly. It’s better not to overdo it right away. Each position should be practiced properly, and you should be familiar with how your body feels and when to breathe. Begin slowly, ensuring that you understand and are comfortable with each motion before attempting a complete session.
The 3 Best Ashtanga Yoga YouTube Videos for Beginners
Those who are new to Ashtanga yoga may have a difficult time with the poses—especially if you don’t know where to start.
To guarantee the safety and efficiency of your yoga practice, proper form and technique are required. When first starting out with ashtanga yoga, opt for a class or video that moves at a slower speed and thoroughly explains each posture and how to move into it.
1. Beginner Ashtanga from Kino Yoga
This beginner Ashtanga series on YouTube features a one-hour sequence of modified positions. Throughout the practice, you can expect to move through a few sun salutations, seated positions, and standing positions. It starts out with an open prayer, before easing into some simple starting positions.
The philosophy behind this online class is that you do not need to be strong or flexible all you need is an open heart and the desire to do yoga. This video is led by Kino MacGregor, a yoga teacher, author, international teacher, blogger, and online yoga class instructor.
The instructor does a good job explaining how to move into each pose, as well as the modifications for beginners. Overall, this is a great place to start if you are new to ashtanga yoga or need assistance with modifications.
2. Ashtanga Yoga Gentle Beginners Routine from Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga
This instructional routine from Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga on YouTube acts as an introduction to ashtanga yoga with an easy-to-follow sequence with no prior experience necessary. The instructor takes into consideration the postures and stances many of us take in our everyday lives and puts thought into poses that focus on spine health for longevity.
This video starts out in the standing position to get you into the correct posture before adding movement with a modified sun salutation. Each pose smoothly flows into the next, with no jumping or rapid movements—it’s all about moving correctly into the pose and pairing movement with breath.
At about forty minutes long, this is a great gently routine for beginners to get familiar with the movements in ashtanga yoga.
3. Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners from Fightmaster Yoga
This is a great instructional video for those looking to ease into ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners on YouTube is only thirty minutes long and starts out with a simple floor sequence before moving into standing positions.
If you are worried about not getting the poses right, this is the video for you. The instructor demonstrates each move slowly and clearly, while voiceover instructions guide you into each pose. She points out which muscles should be contracting and where your body parts should with each pose, as well as how it should feel as you breathe into the pose.
Learning ashtanga from home can have its advantages. When you’re in a class with other experienced yogis, it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind. The above videos are great for beginners to follow along as the instructor teaches the importance of breathing and proper technique. Remember to focus on your breath and how the pose feels rather than how your poses look.