Third Series of Ashtanga Yoga

Last Updated: August 15, 2017

Definition - What does Third Series of Ashtanga Yoga mean?

The third series of Ashtanga yoga, also called the advanced A series, is a sequence of postures that work with gravity and are designed to calm the mind and strengthen the body. The third series is one of four sequences that comprise the advanced series, which is known as sthira bhaga, or "divine stability."

All levels of Ashtanga yoga asana practice begin with two versions of Sun Salutation and a standing sequence, and they all end with the closing sequence. In between, the yogi performs one of six series, which increase in difficulty.

Yogapedia explains Third Series of Ashtanga Yoga

The third series of Ashtanga yoga builds on the first two series, known as the primary and intermediate series. The focus continues to be on energy flow, with additional emphasis on flexibility, strength and concentration. The series sets the yogi on the path to the ultimate goal of Self-realization.

Arm-balancing poses are key components of the third series, requiring the yogi to work with gravity to maintain stability. Among those poses are:

  • Eka pada Koundinyasana B
  • Chakorasana
  • Kala bhairavasana
  • Urdhva kukkutasana A, B and C
  • Eka pada Galavasana
  • Eka pada bakasana A and B
  • Koundinyasana A and B
  • Astavakrasana

The third series of Ashtanga yoga also includes intense backbends such as viparita dandasana A and B, viparita shalabhasana, rajakapotasana and eka pada rajakapotasana. The backbends open energy channels and stretch the spine.

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