Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga

Definition - What does Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga mean?

The fifth series of Ashtanga yoga is an advanced sequence of postures, or asanas, designed to improve body and mind. It is the third of four sequences that together are known as sthira bhaga, or the advanced series. Sthira bhaga is a Sanskrit term meaning “divine stability.”

The asana sequences in this series have evolved over the years. They consist of the primary series, the intermediate series and the advanced series, which used to be composed of two sequences, advanced A and advanced B, or the third and fourth series. Through several incarnations, the Ashtanga advanced series was spread out into the third, fourth, fifth and sixth series. The fifth series is sometimes referred to as advanced C.

Yogapedia explains Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga

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; it ends with the closing sequence. While the primary and intermediate series tend to be universal, the asanas used in the fifth series can vary depending when the particular series was developed or taught. Like all Ashtanga series, the fifth series builds on the skills learned in the prior series and adds more challenging poses interspersed with easier postures.

A focus in the fifth series of Ashtanga yoga are the many handstand vinyasas and other inversions. Such poses include: taraksvasana A and B, eka hasta vrksasana, uttana salabhasana A and B, vrksasana, viparita chakrasana, urdhva prasarita padasana A and B, and tiriang mukha utthita trikonasana, among others.

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