Ashtanga vs Vinyasa Yoga—One is Not That Good For You - Sweatbox

Ashtanga yoga and vinyasa are two of the most successful styles of yoga. The harmonization of movement and breathing is a distinguishing quality of vinyasa yoga, as is the practice itself – ashtanga yoga may well be regarded as the forerunner of today’s many vinyasa yoga forms.

It can be challenging to distinguish between ashtanga vinyasa yoga and vinyasa yoga and determine the ideal fit. People mistakenly believe they are doing Ashtanga Yoga when doing vinyasa yoga.

There’s also a style for us all, from Ashtanga to vinyasa. The practice that provides you with the most significant benefits is perhaps the most efficient and effective manner is the standard way of practice for you.

Understanding Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga

With so many different styles of yoga to pick from, it might be challenging to choose the right one for you. The key distinctions usually depend on the difficulty level and the practice’s central emphasis. So, while both Ashtanga and vinyasa are dynamic types of yoga, they differ in several ways that can help achieve your goals with the least harm.

What Is Ashtanga Yoga?

Sri K Pattabhi Jois created Ashtanga Yoga in 1932, and it is a strenuous, demanding, and fast-paced yoga practice. Although yoga is a relatively new discipline, Jois built his teachings on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, an ancient and well-known yogic classic. Without having to delve into detail about the background, it’s crucial to note that Ashtanga yoga is far more than a physical practice, considering its foundations in ancient yogic scriptures.

Although many people enjoy Ashtanga yoga for its adrenaline-fueled rush, it is ultimately a spiritual discipline and mode of living. Ashtanga is a collection of postures that expand, realign, strengthen, and cleanse the body. It is the core practice of modern-day yoga, like vinyasa flow. Through flowing motions from one position to the next, the breath connects them. It can be tricky and even dangerous due to its rigour.

Benefits of Ashtanga Classes

The vigorous practise of Ashtanga keeps you in condition mentally and physically. Ashtanga means “eight-limb road” in Sanskrit, and it is a way of life for many people. It is the foundation or framework for living a yogic life. The primary notion is that with the exercise of breath, yoga forms, meditation, and concentration, one can achieve a degree of inner calm.

What is Vinyasa yoga?

Vinyasa is a more current and trendsetting style of yoga. It was like Ashtanga’s sister cell in that it takes some of the conventional practice’s key concepts and combines them with various postures to achieve a more fluid and diversified approach. Since every instructor creates their sequencing of poses to follow, no two vinyasa lessons are precisely alike. Although both practices share many forms, they aren’t structured similarly.

The yoga instructor’s ingenuity and diversity and the students highlight this practice. Diversity is the key to life, and vinyasa exemplifies this by not constantly repeating the same poses as Ashtanga does.

Vinyasa classes take around an hour and a half, with music in the background to encourage dynamic energy. Because the yoga teacher concentrates on directing the class, you will get fewer changes in a Vinyasa class than in an Ashtanga self-practice class.

Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga Class

The vinyasa practice guarantees that our bones and muscles are functioning correctly. The muscle extends and develops due to the continual momentum gained through this posture. The fluidity of the body’s mobility improves. Vinyasa yoga aligns your breathing with each pose, allowing fresh oxygen to replenish the muscles.

Vinyasa and Ashtanga: What Are the Major Similarities?

Poses Are Identical

Compared to Hatha yoga, Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga are far more vigorous, although they share many of the same positions. For instance, you will encounter downward-facing dogs, triangle pose, and warriors 1 and 2 in all these types of classes.

Their intensity distinguishes them; for example, in a Hatha yoga session, you may spend much more time in each posture, with the instructor emphasizing proper alignment. In a Vinyasa class, you can flow in and out of these forms in one breath, whereas in an Ashtanga class, we hold each pose for five breaths.

Breathing Is the Foundation

Breathing plays an essential role in all styles of yoga. And that’s how most classes start. This breathing is used in Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga to direct practitioners as smoothly as possible into and out of every set of forms. With the much more dynamic nature of the practices, developing the ability to flow through poses without gasping for air takes time.

Classes Are Developed by the Instructor

The yoga instructor determines the structure of each Vinyasa class. In contrast to Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, where no two courses offered are the same, Ashtanga yoga has a fixed sequence of poses that each course adopts.

Vinyasa vs Ashtanga — How Does It Differ?

Ashtanga Yoga Is a More Systematic Form

Ashtanga yoga lessons are always the same since it involves a set pattern of poses. It begins with breath work before moving on to sun salutations, standing postures, seated poses, and closing yoga postures. T  the same routine is repeated every day.

Some could find this tedious, but there is elegance in repetition. The body, energy, and mood can never be the same, so even if you’re doing the very same set of poses day after day, there are other complicating factors. A Vinyasa yoga class may be a wise alternative for anyone who enjoys change and diversity.

Vinyasa Is a Freestyle Ashtanga

Ashtanga yoga has a specified series of poses that must be observed. The primary series emphasizes forwarding folds, while the intermediate series highlights back bending. Then, the advanced series combines components of the previous sequences with other arm balances. Each series becomes increasingly complex, and most people stick to the primary series.

Vinyasa yoga classes may use poses from across the Ashtanga yoga spectrum, mixing them up in ways that render them extra accessible. It is usually accomplished by aiming for a pinnacle pose in each class by using the class to assist the body to prepare for the advanced position.

Ashtanga Yoga Is Considered More Difficult

Hatha yoga is more accessible, but Ashtanga and Vinyasa flow are more extensive. As a result, in addition to the strenuous poses in Ashtanga yoga, every student is encouraged to focus on their power locks, breathing, and gaze point, involving the mind and spirit throughout the practice.

There Are Two Ways to Teach Ashtanga Yoga

Vinyasa yoga differ in that it is instructed by a teacher who leads the students through a set of poses that they have chosen for the day. They can choose to merely give verbal instructions or to display part or all of the postures.

It is known as a led class, and it can be used to teach Ashtanga yoga. There is another approach to teaching ashtanga yoga Singapore. It is referred to as a Mysore class, and it is in this workout students begin to absorb the Ashtanga yoga poses, allowing practitioners to follow the Ashtanga set routine at their speed.

Props Are Allowed in Vinyasa 

The use of tools is discouraged by most traditional Ashtanga yoga masters. Yoga blocks, straps, and bolsters are the most common yoga equipment. The purpose of this is so that the practice does not become disrupted.

However, props are used in Vinyasa yoga, which can assist us in deepening poses or even rectifying faulty alignment if we practice yoga correctly. Tools can also assist those with injuries by supporting the body in finding better alignment or helping the practitioners find a much less complicated variation of the posture.

How to Choose the Appropriate Yoga Style for You

Still not sure if Ashtanga yoga is appropriate for you? If you:

  • Love working out and want to do more intensive, rigorous yoga?
  • Are seeking a practice that will lead to a deeper profound spiritual experience.
  • Doing yoga alone and at your speed.
  • Enhance your mental focus and meditation capacity by practicing yoga.
  • Find solace in the familiarity of repeating the same routines.

Vinyasa is the right fit for you if you:

  • Are new to yoga but in good physical condition.
  • Want to develop your flexibility and strength but aren’t entirely equipped for the rigours of ashtanga yoga.
  • Are seeking a more exciting and varied sequence.
  • Mainly able to attend short classes due to a lack of time.

Discover Which Practice Is Ideal for You With Sweatbox Yoga Studios

It was just a matter of preference! A Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga practice is recommended to push yourself. Those who regularly practice Ashtanga yoga may find Vinyasa or Hatha yoga class more surprising. At the same time, those who do vinyasa yoga regularly may perceive Ashtanga practice to be overly rigid.

Nonetheless, if you have some minor injuries and are hunting for a less rigorous option that won’t worsen your existing injuries, Vinyasa yoga class is the way to go. At the end of each day, you may also want to switch up the same sequence until you discover a yoga class Singapore and instructor that you connect with.

Here at Sweatbox Yoga, we offer our students the opportunity to experience both forms and ensure that all of our instructors thoroughly understand these yoga traditions and disciplines to find the right choice for you!

About the Author​

Lynette is fully dedicated to the support and empowerment of the growing community of committed yoga students and teachers. As one of the Lead Instructors for Yoga Teacher Training, she is here to share tips on how to grow your profile as a yoga teacher or build a yoga business either physically or digitally.