How is Ashtanga Yoga Different from Vinyasa Yoga?

When you start your yoga journey, there are two different styles of yoga followed commonly in yoga schools – ashtanga yoga and vinyasa yoga. Both these yoga styles stem from the Krishnamacharya Yoga lineage, and both highlight the movement of body parts to the human breathing system. They form the sequence and curriculum of learning.  However, many of us find them as one form.

The Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga teacher training in India differs in methodology, formations, postures, alignment, breathing techniques, and many more things. The most significant difference is sequencing.

Ashtanga Yoga

Difference between Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa Flow Control Yoga

  • Ashtanga yoga practice consists of three different series of postures. They are primary, secondary, and advanced level Ashtanga yoga training. Each set managed sequentially. A practitioner needs to complete the first two levels of yoga sequences to move to advance Ashtanga yoga teacher training. One must master the previous level to move to the next. Each series consists of different body postures, which should be, practiced and repeated again and again till you master the skill. On the other hand, Vinyasa Yoga has an entirely different sequence each time you practice.
  • Ashtanga yoga means eight limbs or steps. They are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. You need to keep the body healthy to practice all other yoga asanas in the right way. Whereas, Vinyasa Yoga is a guided series of postures. It will prepare and open up your body to a peak pose, which is simple and easy.
  • Ashtanga Yoga asanas revolve around three different sequences: the primary series centers on a forward bend, the second series includes back bending, and the advanced series emphasizes on arm-support and arm-balancing poses. With the advancement in your learning, the posture becomes more complicated. In Vinyasa Yoga, the teacher leads the class forming a new sequence of different yoga positions depending on the topic. But the general build-up remains the same:
    • Meditation or breathing exercise
    • Warm-up
    • Sun salutation
    • Core poses
    • Main yoga posture depending on the type or theme of the yoga chosen
    • Inversions and back bending
    • Calming down the senses
    • Going to savasana
  • Ashtanga yoga classes are led by teacher or self-led or Mysore style. The Mysore style of ashtanga yoga comprises a series of yoga positions without any limitations and restrictions. The student can practice the series in his or her own pace, based on memory. In contrast, vinyasa yoga needs a structured classroom program. The vinyasa yoga teacher will instruct the class together and offer some individual adjustments on an as-needed basis.
  • In Ashtanga yoga classes, it’s not necessary to use props for practicing yoga asanas. There is no posture modification or music for the ashtanga yoga classes. Vinyasa yoga asanas use props, background music, and encourage students to modify postures, as needed.

These are some of the fundamental differences between ashtanga yoga and vinyasa flow yoga. You can understand more by learning more. Feel free to join a yoga teacher training course on Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga from Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School. We guarantee you a yoga trip worth remembering of a lifetime.

For call or text, contact here – 955-867-2399, or email at

You may also like to read – All about the Founder of Ashtanga Yoga – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

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