Learn Here About the Difference Between Vinyasa and Ashtanga

The history of yoga goes back 5000 years. Yoga has provided the world with a holistic way to good health and well-being. Whether you want to take care of anxiety or a headache, yoga has a technique to help you keep both these issues at bay. In other words, yoga is the best natural remedy to numerous mental and physical health problems. You should visit a certified yoga retreat in Rishikesh to get a first-hand experience of the benefits of yoga.

However, with time yoga has evolved into many styles like Hatha, Kundalini, Power, Iyengar, and Bikram yoga among others. Besides all these, two yoga styles that stand out include Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga. On the one hand, Ashtanga yoga follows a specific order of asanas which help you evolve to the next stage. However, Vinyasa yoga follows a holistic and integrated approach to help you evolve on a mental and spiritual level.

But, that is not all. There are some major points that separate these two yoga styles. Let us first understand what each of these yoga styles include.

Ashtanga Yoga – In Brief

The Sanskrit word Ashtanga is divided into two parts namely, Ashta which means eight and Anga which means limbs or parts. This refers to the eight-limbed path of yoga as explained in Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

As per Yoga Sutras, these eight steps are;

1) Yama

2) Niyama

3) Asana

4) Pranayama

5) Pratyahara

6) Dharana

7) Dhyana

8) Samadhi

Further, these eight steps are divided into two categories. The steps from Yama to Pratyahara are known as Sadhana Pada whereas the steps from Dharana to Samadhi are known as Vibhuti Pada.

In other words, Ashtanga yoga is a traditional form of yoga in which every step is divided into a precise order to help you move from one step to another in sequential order. This is crucial for you to understand the difference between Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga.

Now, let us now check out what Vinyasa yoga is all about.

Vinyasa Yoga – A Brief Introduction

The word Vinyasa in the Sanskrit language means flow and connection. It includes a set of body movements you synchronize with breath in each pose or when moving from one pose to the next. Every movement in Vinyasa yoga is coordinated with proper inhale and exhale of your breath.

The breathing you practise in Vinyasa yoga is a combination of yoga mudras, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana, and mantra chanting.

In other words, you practice yoga in a flowing and continuous motion without any break. Vinyasa is a flowing sequence of specific yoga asanas and breathing movements.

Now, let us check out the major difference between Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga styles.

Difference Between Vinyasa & Ashtanga Yoga

Given below are four parameters that make Vinyasa yoga different from Ashtanga yoga.

The Sequencing

Ashtanga yoga consists of a series of yoga postures namely, primary, secondary, and advanced. However, vinyasa yoga has sequences that vary and the practitioner can change the sequence every time.

The Focus

This is one of the crucial differences between the Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga styles.

With Ashtanga yoga, the primary series focuses on forwarding bend, the secondary series on backbends, and the advanced series on arm-support and arm-balancing poses.

On the other hand, Vinyasa yoga sequences include the main pose which is chosen by the teacher according to the experience of the student.

Ability To Upgrade

With Ashtanga yoga, the ability to transition depends on the student’s individual ability. On the other hand, in Vinyasa it is the teacher who always leads the class.

Use Of Props

During Ashtanga yoga class, you do not use yoga props, music, or yoga posture modification. In Vinyasa, the teachers allow the use of yoga props to help the student adjust to difficult asanas.

You might question –

Which One is Suitable for Me?

The truth is it is all about personal preference. If you are someone with no yoga experience, then yoga experts recommend you stick to learning the Hatha yoga style.

However, if you have a good level of fitness then give Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga a try. If you are up for a mental and physical challenge, both Ashtanga and Vinyasa can help you with that.

As a beginner, you should give different yoga styles a proper try to find out which suits you best in terms of theory and practice.


Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga offers you a great mental and physical challenge. However, before you sign up for any of these, read the difference between Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga to make the right decision. Remember, yoga might be gentle but it has its share of injuries.


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