Ashtanga Yoga Asana Sequence

Many people confuse the Ashtanga Asana Sequence with Surya Namaskara or Salutation to the Sun (yoga sun salutation).

Surya Namaskara is the Sanskrit name for the series of asanas that are done daily to worship the sun as it was done in the old days. The traditional yoga sun salutation series is done to improve flexibility, skin tone, reduce depression, awaken the spirit and improve your overall awareness and health.

Yoga adepts get even more from Surya Namaskara because these positions also include
breathing, meditation techniques and balancing of their chakra energy flow.

Ashtanga Asana Sequence

Where does the ashtanga asana fit in? Well, ashtanga is one of the asanas that make the sun salutation. Ashtange Namaskara means the salute with 8 points (make that 8 contact points with the earth: 2 feet, 2 knees, 2 hands, chest and chin).

Another Meaning for the Asthanga Sequence?


Some may refer to the ashtanga sequence as the proper sequence of body parts touching the ground while moving into Ashtanga Namaskara. Ideally, the contact should be simultaneous.

If not possible at your stage of yoga development, then you should aim at achieving this order:

  • 1. Hands and toes
  • 2. Knees
  • 3. Chest
  • 4. Chin

It’s important to note that your lower legs, thighs, bum and abdomen shouldn’t touch the yoga mat. You should also be holding your breath while in this position.

This sequence of yoga positions is normally done between the downward facing dog (also called mountain pose or Parvatasana) and cobra pose (also called Bhujangasana). There are many variations in the order of asanas for the sun salutation. In the one shown below, the ashtanga asana would fit on the third row, between the first and second picture.


See where the ashtanga asana sequence fits in the yoga sun salutation and learn how to integrate this yoga practice into your morning routine.