Asthanga: The best yoga for strength

Hey, if Shape magazine says something, it has to be true, right?

I just saw where the mag listed Ashtanga as the best yoga for strength. Here’s why:

While several styles of yoga can help strengthen your body, ashtanga’s heavily repeated series of vinyasas—chatarunga (a yogi push-up), up dog, and down dog—between each pose (and on each side!) is guaranteed to make you strong and fierce, says Lauren Imparato, a certified yoga instructor and owner of the I.AM.YOU. Studioin New York City. Holding the poses, with this repetition of vinyasas in between, will develop targeted muscles in every part of your body, including those you never knew you had.

Find it: Imparato recommends looking for classes with names like “led primary series” or “basic ashtanga.” And, if you are comfortable simply watching and following along without a teacher giving instructions, look for “mysore” classes.

And, because we all know that “the more you know … ” the better, here are the other “winners”:

Best yoga for beginners: Iyengar. “This slow-paced class incorporates props such as straps, blocks, bolsters, and blankets in order to aid in more precise postures and poses and will challenge your body in a safe, educational manner, [Sara] Ivanhoe says.”

Best for stress: Hatha. Are you with me when you say, “Huh?” Isn’t that pretty much any asana? Well, in this case, Shape claims it is “a yoga style that focuses on balancing your entire body’s energy as well as deepening the mind-body connection and stretching tight muscles via poses, deep breathing, and meditation.”

Best for athletes: Power yoga. Not Ashtanga? Well, there is this caveat: “Ashtanga and vinyasa styles also often fall under the “power yoga” umbrella.”

Best for “revving up your sex life”: Kundalini. “Breathing exercises, including the alternate nostril method, are also used to unleash your sexual energy, and don’t be surprised if the teachers have long beards and are wearing white.” Hold on while I get to a class.

Best for meditation: Anusara. Style makes no mention of John Friend.

Best for quick weight loss: Bikram.

Best for “recovering and healing”: Restorative. OK, now we’re just getting kind of ridiculous, right?

Best for flexibility: Yin. OK, I better pay attention to this: “Yin yoga has a more passive approach to flexibility, allowing your body to release into poses and postures versus actively powering through them.” Apparently is focuses on connective tissues. I’m just going to pretend I didn’t read this one.

Best for spirituality: Jivamukti. Hope there aren’t any Jivamukti classes in schools! “Upbeat or mellow music usually sets the tone for the class, and chanting, breath awareness, flowing sequences, alignment, and relaxation are all practiced to incorporate the five tenets of jivamukti yoga: Sanskrit scripture, devotion to God (bhatki), animal and environmental rights (ahisma), music, and meditation.”

Posted by Steve


Published by


Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

One thought on “Asthanga: The best yoga for strength”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s