According to AYRI:
The purpose of vinyasa is for internal cleansing. Breathing and moving together while performing asanas makes the blood hot, or as Pattabhi Jois says, boils the blood.
The benefits of boiled blood are numerous. Thinner (boiled) blood circulates more freely, so it’s better able to remove pain, impurities and disease.
The sweat generated by Ashtanga practice is also beneficial, because it removes the toxins brought out by the boiling blood.
In Yoga Mala, Sri K. Pattabhis Jois discusses in great depth the benefits of Ashtanga in general as well as the benefits of each asana. For example, for Prasarita Padottanasana (A-D), Pattabhis Jois writes:
[If learned from a Guru], the anal canal will be purified, the bad fat in the lower abdomen will dissolve, the waist will become thin and strong, and the body will become light and beautiful. This asana also cures constipation, and purifies the top part of the spinal column and the waist.
I think anyone who’s practiced Ashtanga (or any yoga) for a while would say that practice has numerous physical, emotional and mental benefits. My friends who do not practice yoga express interest primarily because of the “stretching” and “relaxation” benefits they perceive yoga will provide. So there’s this general, yet anecdotal, perception that yoga, including Ashtanga yoga, is beneficial.
However, being a curious, analytical type of person with an interest in health and science, I was wondering what kind of medical or scientific research exists about yoga, particularly Ashtanga?
So, in a brief series of upcoming posts, I’ll be highlighting some of what I’ve learned.
With that, I invite you all to please comment freely and include any resources you have about the benefits of yoga.
From Yoga Mala:
Some people even have of fear of practicing it [yoga] altogether. But this is little different from the opinion of those who look for the faults of sugar without knowing its sweetness. Once they taste it, its sweetness becomes apparent. Similarly, once we practice yoga, we come to realize its ananda [bliss].
Despite my analytical bent, I fully endorse tasting the sugar.