Sthira Bhaga

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Sthira Bhaga Mean?

Sthira bhaga is a Sanskrit term that describes the advanced series of Ashtanga yoga. Sthira translates as “strong,” “stable,” “steady” and “resolute” while bhaga means “prosperity,” “good fortune” and “happiness.” The term is often translated as “strength and grace,” but also as “divine stability” and “sublime serenity.”

Modern Ashtanga yoga and the development of its progressive levels of vinyasa series are credited to yogi Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1989) and his student K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009). Each Ashtanga practice consists of an opening sequence of sun salutes and a standing sequence. It is followed by one of up to six increasingly difficult vinyasa series and ends with a set finishing sequence.


Yogapedia Explains Sthira Bhaga

Initially, Ashtanga yoga had primary, intermediate and advanced series. The advanced series has evolved to include four series, referred to either as advanced A, B, C and D, or as the third, fourth, fifth and sixth series. Sthira bhaga is sometimes used to refer to just the third series of Ashtanga yoga, but is typically used to describe the advanced series as a whole. The primary series is called yoga chikita, while the intermediate series goes by the name nadi shodhana.

The first series tones the physical body, the second series strengths nervous system, while sthira bhaga builds on that foundation with a focus on both physical and spiritual strength, flexibility and balance. Each level of sthira bhaga, and each posture within each series, must be mastered before moving to the next.

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