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Ashtanga vs Vinyasa

Ashtanga Vs Vinyasa – What is the Difference

Since the growing popularity of yoga, there has been a debate on Ashtanga vs Vinyasa yoga and what makes one style better than the other. The art of yoga has several styles with each one providing unique benefits to the practitioner. One should choose a yoga style that is congruent to their personal liking and also offers some impressive benefits.

Difference Between Ashtanga Vs Vinyasa Yoga

With that said, there has been a lot of debate between Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga style. However, first, let us understand a bit about each of these.

Ashtanga Yoga

The Ashtanga Yoga style should not be confused with the Ashtanga or the eight-limbed philosophy of the yogic art which was promoted by Sage Patanjali in the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It received a modern touch in the 20th century by Sri J. Pattabhi Jois in 1948 as Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga style is much popular in the West and practiced by many famous celebrities including the Hollywood elites. It is a disciplined and structured approach to the practice of yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga – The Series

The Ashtanga Yoga has six defined “series” which consist of Primary, Intermediate, and 4 Advanced series. Each of these series has a set of poses which the individual practices in a preset order. The Primary Series is a bit challenging and one might have to spend years mastering every pose in this series.

Fortunately, one does the practice under the tutelage of a certified yoga teacher who determines when they are ready to move on to the next level with intermediate yoga poses. One has to commit to at least 6 times a week practice with Ashtanga yoga.

Let us now check out the pros and cons of Ashtanga yoga practice.

Ashtanga Yoga Pros

  • Ashtanga Yoga is a traditional practice that offers the practitioner a glimpse into the roots of true yoga.
  • The practice of Ashtanga Yoga includes advanced yoga poses. It is more of a fast-paced yoga style.
  • Repetition of yoga poses during the Ashtanga Yoga class helps one master each yoga asana in less time.

Cons of Ashtanga Yoga

  • Ashtanga yoga is a bit difficult for beginners as it has advanced yoga poses.
  • The Ashtanga yoga practice is a rigid practice with a specific set of yoga asanas that can be boring for yoga practitioners.

With Ashtanga Yoga clear, now let us move on to Vinyasa yoga.

Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga although originated as a branch of the Ashtanga yoga practice but has evolved from the slow-moving Vinyasa flow to power yoga. A vinyasa yoga session includes many of the yoga poses the individual does during their Ashtanga yoga practice but there is a change in the order.

Moreover, Vinyasa yoga also utilizes what is known as the Ujjayi breathing technique. In this technique, the yoga practitioner’s focus on their breathing especially every inhale and exhale. Moreover, Vinyasa yoga classes have multiple levels that range from a slow and relaxing class to a quick transition from one yoga asana to another.

Let us now focus a bit on the pros and cons of a Vinyasa yoga class.

Pros of Vinyasa Yoga

  • Variety in yoga asanas, sequence, and speed of practice
  • Enjoyable for both advanced and beginners of yoga
  • Helps develop strength and flexibility with Ujjayi technique

Cons of Vinyasa Yoga

  • One can never expect what will happen in Vinyasa yoga class as the yoga instructor controls the sequence of the yoga asanas.
  • The variety of poses can also make it a bit difficult for practitioners to learn yoga poses.

With both Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga styles described in detail, one has to find which among the two aligns with their yoga practice.

Also Read: Hatha Vs Vinyasa


Both Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga styles are complete opposites. On the one hand, Ashtanga yoga offers less variety in yoga poses whereas Vinyasa yoga offers variety almost in every practice. One can find here the answer to Ashtanga vs Vinyasa yoga debate and make the best choice depending on the need and goal behind the yoga practice.

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