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Difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa

Difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa

There are a few different types of yoga, but the two most popular are Ashtanga and Vinyasa. Both have their own benefits, but many people don’t know the difference between the two. Here is a breakdown of the key differences between Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga.

What is Ashtanga?

Ashtanga is a type of yoga that was developed in the early 20th century by Sri Krishnamacharya. Ashtanga means “eight-limbed” in Sanskrit, and it refers to the eight limbs of yoga: Yama (restraints), niyama (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (absorption).

The Ashtanga yoga system includes six series of asanas, each progressively more difficult, and practitioners are expected to master one series before moving on to the next. Ashtanga is a very physically demanding form of yoga, and it is also considered to be one of the most effective forms of yoga for developing strength, flexibility, and stamina.

What is Vinyasa?

Vinyasa is a type of yoga that links breath and movement. The word “vinyasa” can be translated as “connection” or “linking.” In a Vinyasa yoga class, students move through a sequence of poses that are linked together by the breath.

  • For example, the popular Sun Salutation sequence begins with Mountain Pose (Tadasana). From there, you inhale and raise your arms overhead into Upward Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana). On an exhale, you lower into Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
  • Vinyasa is often used to describe a more dynamic style of yoga, but it can also be used simply to describe the act of linking breath and movement. Vinyasa classes vary widely in terms of pace and intensity.
  • Some classes may focus on alignment and hold each pose for several breaths. Others may move quickly and focus on building heat and creating fluidity in the body. Ultimately, the goal of Vinyasa yoga is to unite the mind, body, and breath.

Difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa

Ashtanga and Vinyasa are both styles of yoga that originated in India. Ashtanga is a more traditional style of yoga, while Vinyasa is a more modern, westernized style.

  • Ashtanga yoga focuses on linking breath with movement, and it is typically done in a room heated to around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Ashtanga classes are often fast-paced and intense, and they typically follow a set sequence of poses.
  • In contrast, Vinyasa classes are usually slower-paced and less structured. Students are encouraged to listen to their bodies and move at their own pace. Vinyasa classes also tend to be cooler, since they are not typically done in a heated room.
  • While Ashtanga and Vinyasa both have their own benefits, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer the intensity of Ashtanga, while others find that the slower pace of Vinyasa allows them to focus more on their breath and connect with their bodies.

Ultimately, the best way to choose between Ashtanga and Vinyasa is to try both styles and see which one feels right for you.


The main difference between Ashtanga and Vinyasa is that Ashtanga is a traditional style of yoga with set poses, while Vinyasa is a more modern form where the poses are fluid and often linked together. Both styles have their pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which one you prefer. If you’re looking for a more traditional approach, try Ashtanga; if you want a more challenging workout with lots of variety, go for Vinyasa.

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