Discover the Key Differences Between Yoga Vinyasa Ashtanga and Find Your Perfect Practice. Learn Which Style is Best for You and Your Body. Start Today!

Facts About Yoga Vinyasa Ashtanga

Yoga Vinyasa Ashtanga is a dynamic and physically demanding form of yoga that involves a set sequence of poses, breathing techniques, and Drishti. Here are some facts about Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga:

OriginAshtanga Vinyasa yoga was re-energized and brought back to life in the late 20th century by Sri K Pattabhi Jois.
SeriesThe Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system consists of three series: primary, intermediate, and advanced.
PosesAshtanga Yoga uses Vinyasa asanas, breathing, and Drishti.
SequencesAshtanga consists of six specific sequences of poses that are challenging and physically demanding.
BreathEach inhale and exhale is supposed to trigger a different movement of the body in Ashtanga Yoga.
StructureAshtanga yoga is a structured and dynamic type of yoga, following a set sequence of poses, and is physically intensive.

Ashtanga is similar to Vinyasa yoga, but the sequences are much more specific and intense. While both forms of yoga incorporate breathing, movement, and Drishti, Ashtanga Yoga involves a set of poses that are repeated in a specific order.

Although Ashtanga Yoga may be considered challenging, it is accessible to everyone who is physically capable of taking a Vinyasa flow class. Modern Vinyasa or Flow classes may include components from Jois’ Ashtanga sequences but are much freer, and the teacher is free to explore a wide range of asana. With practice, Ashtanga Yoga can help to build strength, flexibility, and mental focus, and offer numerous benefits for both the body and mind.

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Overview

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a dynamic and physically demanding style of yoga that generates heat and focuses on the breath and the importance of transitions. It involves a set sequence of postures and breathing techniques. Ashtanga Yoga is an ‘Eight Limbs Yoga’ system that encompasses the entire yoga practice and philosophy.

Ashtanga yoga seeks to embody all eight limbs of yoga on and off the mat, while Vinyasa is less philosophical and mainly focuses on the external or physical experience. The Ashtanga Vinyasa system consists of six defined series, and Ashtanga yoga is more structured and follows a set sequence of poses.

The history of Ashtanga yoga can be traced back to a text called Yoga Kurunta by Vamama Rishi, which was transmitted to Krishnamacharya and then to Pattabhi Jois. Through Jois, who founded the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India, the practice spread throughout the world.

Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is useful for faster growth in the asana practice and building muscle memory. It is ideal for people who are looking for a physically demanding practice that can help them to develop strength and flexibility quickly.

Hatha Yoga is essentially Ashtanga (or Raja) Yoga without the limbs of Yama and Niyama. Hatha Yoga is a more general term that encompasses a variety of different styles of yoga.

The Differences Between Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga

When it comes to yoga, there are many different styles to choose from. Two popular styles are Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga. While they may look similar, there are some key differences between the two.

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Ashtanga vs Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is often called “power yoga”, while Vinyasa is sometimes called “flow yoga.” Ashtanga yoga is a traditional series of postures done in the same order every time, while Vinyasa is freestyle Ashtanga. Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga differ in that Ashtanga has a set sequence and is repetitive, while Vinyasa has no set sequence and can vary by practice.


Ashtanga is rigorous, challenging, and fast-paced, while Vinyasa is more accessible to beginners. The Ashtanga series, which consists of a set of postures, is done in the same order every time, and each pose is held for five breaths. The practice builds heat and stamina as you move through the series, making it a great workout for those who want to push themselves physically. Vinyasa, on the other hand, is a more flowing practice that is often done at a slower pace. It aims to create a moving meditation, and is therefore more gentle and relaxing.

Who Should Practice Each Style?

Those who seek a transformative experience or wish to integrate yoga into their lifestyle often find Ashtanga to be a more satisfying practice as it integrates the eight-limbed Yoga philosophy. However, beginners may find Ashtanga intimidating due to the pace and repetition. For this reason, Vinyasa is best for beginners at yoga, those who enjoy fitness, want more flexibility and lean muscle tone, prefer a lower intensity, more leisurely practice, get bored with the same poses, and only have time for shorter practices.

Benefits of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga

Are you looking for a way to boost your overall health and well-being? If so, then you should give yoga a try! Both Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga are excellent choices for anyone looking for a physical and mental challenge while also reaping the benefits of stress relief, improved flexibility, and strength. Let’s dive deeper into the specific benefits of both Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga.

Ashtanga’s energetic practice keeps you in shape, both mentally and physically, and provides a guideline for living a life of Yoga. This vigorous form of yoga is known for its intense series of postures, or “flows,” that are held for longer periods of time, providing an excellent cardiovascular workout. Ashtanga yoga’s challenging nature can help improve your body’s upper body strength, as well as assist with weight loss.

Vinyasa yoga, on the other hand, provides a different type of cardiovascular challenge. Known for its flowing sequences of postures, Vinyasa yoga is perfect for those looking for a high-energy workout that also improves flexibility and balance. This style of yoga has been found to reduce stress and thus improve positive outlooks while also reducing heart rate variability.

Both Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga involve poses that strengthen and lengthen the body while starting with a focus on the breath and ending with guided relaxation. This approach helps to lower stress levels, as well as provide mental clarity and relaxation.

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So, whether you choose Ashtanga’s challenging series of postures or Vinyasa’s dynamic and flowing sequences, know that you will be improving your overall health and well-being by incorporating yoga into your wellness routine.

BenefitsAshtanga YogaVinyasa Yoga
Improves physical fitness Energetic practice, intense series of postures Flowing sequences, provides cardiovascular challenge
Reduces stress
Increases upper body strength 
Assists with weight loss 
Improves well-being 
Improves flexibility and balance
Reduces heart rate variability 

No matter which style of yoga you choose, you will be gaining a wealth of benefits for your body and mind. So, roll out your mat, take a deep breath, and get ready to take on the challenges and benefits of Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga!

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Series and Classes

At Infinite Yoga, there are two types of Ashtanga Vinyasa classes: a guided class led by an instructor and the self-practice or so-called ‘Mysore-style.’ Both led and Mysore formats are offered for traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga classes. Ashtanga yoga, built around a set series of postures or asanas, was introduced to the Western world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This style has since become increasingly trendy with yogis who enjoy a challenging, athletic-style yoga.

The Ashtanga Yoga Series and Classes

The Ashtanga Yoga Series is a set of six sequences of progressively challenging asanas, including standing postures, forward bends, backbends, twists, and inversions. Each series is designed to prepare the student for the next, and the entire sequence is meant to be practiced daily. Ashtanga classes take at least 60 to 90 minutes to go through the Primary Series, while Vinyasa classes tend to be much shorter (30 to 60 minutes).

Mysore-style versus Guided Ashtanga Yoga:

In a typical guided Ashtanga class, one teacher leads the entire group through a set sequence of postures, called the Primary Series. In Mysore-style classes, students move at their pace through the sequence, while a teacher is present to provide hands-on adjustments, as needed, and to offer help to students’ individual needs. An Ashtanga teacher is far more likely to offer adjustments and recommendations for alignment, unlike some other types of yoga practices.

Ashtanga Modifications:

Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga classes are not ideal for a student just starting in yoga. However, Ashtanga yoga is accessible to people of all ages and body types. Students are encouraged to modify the poses in Ashtanga yoga by using props such as blocks, straps, and blankets to make the practice more accessible to all. Iyengar yoga pays the utmost attention to finding proper alignment in poses and uses props to help students. Anusara yoga helps students open their hearts and experience grace.

Training in Ashtanga yoga will support you in both body and mind. Develop strength, flexibility, and endurance. Regular practice can lead to improved cardiovascular health, healthy body weight, lower stress levels, and a more relaxed and peaceful mind. Strengthen your mental resolve and connect more deeply with your spirituality. Make your practice your own by exploring the possibilities of Ashtanga yoga.

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Other Types of Yoga

Aside from Ashtanga yoga, there are several other types of yoga available for individuals of all levels, each with their unique twist on the practice. Here are some of the best-known types of yoga:

  • Power Yoga: This yoga style is based on Ashtanga yoga and emphasizes strength-building movements that quickly raise your heart rate to get your blood pumping.
  • Vinyasa Yoga: This type of yoga originated from the broader category of Hatha yoga and involves flowing movements and postures that smoothly transition from pose to pose. It often involves music and creative sequences tailored to the instructor’s preferences.
  • Anusara: A modern-day Hatha yoga style that is focused on experiencing bliss and joy in both your yoga practice and life at large. It uses props to align your body accurately and support your practice.
  • Iyengar: This yoga practice centers on correct alignment of the body and sustained poses that help build strength and balance. It often utilizes props such as blocks or straps to obtain the perfect placement and support for the poses.
  • Hatha Yoga: A slower-paced and gentle yoga practice that is great for beginners. It uses basic stretching postures that can be done standing or seated and focuses on bringing balance and harmony to the body and mind.

While each type of yoga may have differences in their approach and techniques, beginners can practice them all with modifications based on their physical ability and fitness level.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga is an accessible and widely popular style of yoga that combines movement with breath. It is a great practice for those who prefer a dynamic and energizing practice that gets the body moving.

This yoga style incorporates fluid movements and a consistent focus on breathing, creating a calming and meditative state of mind. Vinyasa yoga classes are usually led to music, and every instructor has their unique method and style of giving sequences.

The practice presents many benefits for the body and mind, including increased strength, flexibility, and stress relief. And, as there are variations in sequences and themes tailored to individual preferences, individuals can customize their practice to suit their specific needs and preferences.

If you’re looking for a yoga practice that flows seamlessly from one pose to another, incorporating meditation and breathing exercises, Vinyasa yoga may be the perfect choice for you.

If you’ve decided to start practicing yoga, congratulations! You’re making a great decision for your physical and mental health. However, with so many different types of yoga out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for you. Two popular styles are Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga. Here are some facts to help you decide which one is best for you.

Choosing Between Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga

Ashtanga is best for:

  • Those who enjoy fitness and rigorous workouts
  • Athletes
  • Highly disciplined individuals
  • Those who prefer a more spiritual experience
  • Those who like a challenge
  • Those who have plenty of time

Practicing Both Ashtanga and Vinyasa:

At Alpha Yoga School, students have the opportunity to practice both styles to ensure a deep understanding of these traditions and styles of yoga. Practiced in combination, Ashtanga and Vinyasa can achieve balance.

Ashtanga vs. Vinyasa:

The main difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga is the creative license that Vinyasa teachers take in building the sequences and varying the pace between poses. While Ashtanga follows a set series of poses, Vinyasa can vary greatly depending on the instructor. Those who seek a transformative experience or wish to integrate yoga into their lifestyle often find Ashtanga to be a more satisfying practice as it integrates the eight-limbed Yoga philosophy.

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