Fourth Series of Ashtanga Yoga

Definition - What does Fourth Series of Ashtanga Yoga mean?

The fourth series of Ashtanga yoga, also sometimes referred to as the advanced B series, is a sequence of asanas that strengthen the body, increase flexibility, calm the mind and build inner strength. The fourth series is the second of four sequences that together are known as sthira bhaga, or the advanced series. Sthira bhaga is a Sanskrit term that means “divine stability.”

Regardless of the level, all asana practice in Ashtanga yoga begins with two variations of Sun Salutation and a standing sequence, followed by one of the six series and ending with the closing sequence.

Yogapedia explains Fourth Series of Ashtanga Yoga

The sthira bhaga series of Ashtanga yoga, including the fourth series, builds on the the primary and intermediate series. The first of the sthira bhaga series, also known as the third series or advanced A series, continues Ashtanga's focus on energy flow, but adds more emphasis on flexibility, strength and concentration. The fourth series mixes more difficult poses with meditative poses, continuing and further developing the advanced series' emphasis on inner strength. The goal of the fourth series is to move the yogi along the path to the ultimate goal of Self-realization.

The fourth series of Ashtanga yoga includes backbends and a number of poses with one or two feet behind the head, in addition to the meditative poses. The asanas in this series are:

  • Mulabandhasana;
  • Nahushasana;
  • Vrschikasana;
  • Sayanasana;
  • Buddhasana;
  • Kapilasana;
  • Variations of padangustha dhanurasana and Marichyasana;
  • Parsva bakasana;
  • Pungu kukkutasana;
  • Eka pada dhanurasana;
  • Eka pada rajakapotasana A and B;
  • Paryankasana A and B;
  • Mandalasana A and B; and
  • Several variations of dandasana poses, among others.
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