Ashtanga Yoga, Mental Health & the Pandemic

Self Fitness August 12, 2020 By Apple Mandy

How Ashtanga Yoga’s Rigorous Poses Have Helped My Mental Health During the Pandemic

Unsplash – Jane Stephens @jadestephens

I don’t know how I would have made it through the pandemic, and my transition to living in New York City, without Ashtanga yoga. I moved to NYC from Hong Kong in January, two months before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Throughout the 18 months of the immigration process, I found myself riding a wave of emotions—from frustration to anger and sadness. I decided to devote myself to Ashtanga yoga, which I had encountered during a trip to Mysore, India, the birthplace of the practice. The practice has so far given me such emotional stability.

Ashtanga can be an intimidating practice. For one thing, it’s quite physical and athletic, particularly when compared to Hatha yoga (which is the kind of yoga that probably comes to mind when you hear the word yoga). The Primary Series, which I’ve been practicing for eight months now, is the foundation of the Ashtanga method. It’s made up of a variety of asanas (postures) that are done while standing, seated, and twisting, as well as in backbends and inversions. When I first started practicing it, I found myself getting frustrated. I couldn’t touch my toes and balance myself in seated poses like Ubhaya Padangustasana (or Double Toe Hold, which you can see here).

https://www.self.com/story/ashtanga-yoga

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