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and Demi Moore are devoted to the daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga, … Modern Ashtanga yoga and its physical demands are what differs it from its yoga …

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ASHTANGA YOGA
The Inside Out Path to Total Fitness
by Fara Kearnes Sit cross-legged with your hands on your knees. Focus on your breath, while keeping your back straight, and allow your knees to gently lower to the floor. Take five to ten slow, deep breaths. On the next inhale, raise your arms over your head. As you exhale, bring the arms down slowly. You’ve just experienced a beginning yoga pose called Sukhansana. Simple, yet amazingly effective. Ashtanga yoga’s dynamic exercises blend breathing and movement allowing your inner essence to unfold naturally, without strain. Some call it the most physical yoga, yet with proper instruction, the workouts are an efficient and, best of all, pain-free way to achieve total fitness. The Most Talked About Form of Yoga Today What seemed to evolve from the om-chanting flower children of the sixties has actually been around for centuries and remains enormously popular today. Celebrities such as Madonna, Sting, and Demi Moore are devoted to the daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga, also known as Power Yoga. In North America alone, over 18 million Americans are reported to be practicing some form of yoga and are reaping the benefits of improvements in strength, flexibility, weight control, increased cardiovascular and energy levels, an enhanced immune system, and stress reduction. Since yoga focuses on exercise, breathing, and meditation, the combination works on the body from the inside out to increase efficiency which improves overall health. In a recent study done at the University of California-Davis, test subjects were measured before and after an eight-week period in which they practiced yoga four times per week. The participants showed a remarked improvement in: muscular strength, which increased by 31 percent; muscular endurance, by as much as 57 percent; and flexibility, which improved in some cases 188 percent. Even the uptake of oxygen entering the lungs, bloodstream and muscles, showed an increased of up to 7 percent. Such results should not come as a surprise to anyone. Contrary to Western perceptions, strength, stamina and sweat, and not just meditation, have long been fundamental aspects of yoga. The Origins of Ashtanga The roots of yoga go back about 5,000 years to India; the pure form of Ashtanga yoga is said to be between 500 and 1500 years old, and is based on the teachings of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. The word Ashtanga comes from the words ashta (eight) and anga (limbs), and it was described in classical yoga writings as having eight major parts, referred as to the "Eight Limbs of Yoga." Yoga means "union"; a union of the body, mind and breath. Modern Ashtanga yoga and its physical demands are what differs it from its yoga cousins, for


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