Ashtanga Intermediate Series: 7 Deep Mystical Layers

Ashtanga Intermediate Series
Ashtanga Intermediate Series

Dive deep into the mesmerizing world of the Ashtanga Intermediate Series. Explore its origins, significance, challenges, and the unparalleled benefits it offers. Your guide to mastering Nāḍi Śodhana awaits!

Embarking on the Ashtanga Intermediate Series, often termed Nāḍi Śodhana, feels like a rite of passage for any passionate yoga practitioner. This intricate dance of postures carries with it centuries of tradition, wisdom, and transformative potential. But what truly sets it apart from other sequences? Let’s take a deeper dive.

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The Roots and Reverberations of the Ashtanga Intermediate Series

Delving back into the annals of time, the Ashtanga Vinyasa system, birthed in the ancient lands of India, has been an integral part of the yoga landscape. Rooted in an archaic text named Yoga Korunta, discovered by T. Krishnamacharya and later passed onto Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the sequences, as we know them today, were formed.

The Ashtanga Intermediate Series, in particular, stands as a beacon, a bridge between the foundational Primary Series and the challenging Advanced sequences. It’s akin to an eloquent chapter in an epic novel, telling tales of inner purification and heightened consciousness.

But why does this series, in particular, capture the hearts of so many practitioners? To understand its allure, one must first understand its name. ‘Ashtanga’ translates to ‘eight limbs,’ referencing the eightfold path of yoga that encompasses ethical principles, physical postures, breath control, sensory withdrawal, concentration, meditation, and the ultimate state of enlightenment or Samadhi. The ‘Intermediate Series,’ thus, isn’t merely a set of postures; it’s a profound journey, enveloping the practitioner in a transformative embrace, ensuring they’re ready for the subsequent, advanced tales of Ashtanga

Nāḍi Śodhana: The Symphony of Energy Channel Purification

Now, onto a keyword that’s intrigued many a yogi: Nāḍi Śodhana. In the mystic world of yoga, ‘Nāḍi’ refers to the subtle energy channels coursing through our body, while ‘Śodhana’ means purification. So, this “ashtanga intermediate series” is less about muscle flexing and more about achieving a harmonious flow of energy. Think of it as an internal detox, ensuring that our life force or ‘prana’ flows uninterrupted, keeping us in optimal health and mental clarity.

Picture this: You’re a flute, and over time, dust and debris accumulate within, affecting the melodies you produce. Nāḍi Śodhana, thus, is that essential cleanup, ensuring every note (or in our case, every thought, action, and emotion) emerges pure, resonant, and true.

So, how does this magic unfold? As practitioners move through the intricate dance of postures in the “ashtanga intermediate series,” they unblock, realign, and purify these energy channels. The result? A radiant, vibrant, and harmonious being, ready to engage with the world with renewed vigor and clarity. It’s not merely about achieving that perfect backbend or nailing an inversion; it’s about the internal shifts, the silent revolutions that elevate one’s very essence[3][5].

Now that we’ve delved into the roots and resonances of the Ashtanga Intermediate Series, or should I say, the mystical Nāḍi Śodhana, let’s continue our journey…

The Challenges and Triumphs of Nāḍi Śodhana

When embarking on the journey of the Ashtanga Intermediate Series, it’s akin to entering an enchanting forest, filled with wonders and challenges alike. Every turn, every pose, tests the limits of what one believes is possible. But with every challenge comes an equal measure of triumph and self-discovery.

The term “Nāḍi Śodhana” might sound like something you’d whisper in a hushed tone in a mystic’s tent, but in reality, it’s the backbone of the Ashtanga Intermediate Series. As mentioned, it translates to “purification of the energy channels.” But, how exactly does this purification happen?

Imagine your body as a bustling city. When traffic flows smoothly, everything operates seamlessly. But what happens when there’s a jam? Chaos ensues. Similarly, our body’s energy channels, or nadis, need to be obstruction-free for the prana (life force) to flow uninhibited. The postures in the Ashtanga Intermediate Series act as traffic controllers, ensuring that the energy highways are clear and congestion-free. But these postures are not mere stretches. They are tools of transformation.

For instance, the Kapotasana, also known as the Pigeon Pose, doesn’t just challenge your back flexibility; it invites you to confront any emotional barriers and past traumas. Similarly, the Eka Pada Sirsasana, where one leg goes behind the head, is not just a test of physical prowess but also a lesson in patience and humility.

However, these challenges, while demanding, pave the way for some of the most exhilarating moments of a yogi’s life. There’s nothing quite like the rush of sticking a challenging pose for the first time or the serene calm that washes over you after a particularly intense practice. The Ashtanga Intermediate Series, in all its glory, is a thrilling roller-coaster of emotions, experiences, and epiphanies.

4. Unraveling the Sequence: Step-by-Step

Just like a captivating book that you can’t put down, the Ashtanga Intermediate Series draws you into a narrative that unfolds with every posture. But before we turn the pages, let’s familiarize ourselves with the chapters of this riveting tale.

  • Sun Salutations (Sūrya Namaskāra): Think of it as the prologue. Your body is introduced to a sequence that begins to spark a dialogue with the subtle energies. It’s a warm-up that prepares you for the unfolding drama, building momentum, setting the pace, and teasing what’s to come.
  • Standing Postures: This section is akin to the exposition of a novel where the setting and main characters are introduced. The series lays a solid ground, a platform where you build strength and focus. It’s here where you start finding your rhythm, your personal dance with the Ashtanga Intermediate Series.
  • The Main Event – Intermediate Series Asanas: Welcome to the climax of the story, where the plot thickens and the true essence of the Intermediate Series is unveiled. From the swirling twists of Pasasana to the back-bending euphoria of Ustrasana (Camel Pose), each posture adds a new layer to your narrative, presenting challenges to be met with grace and determination. This part of the series is where transformation happens, not just physically, but at a cellular, energetic level. Each asana in the Ashtanga Intermediate Series tells a story, unravels a mystery, and brings you closer to the heart of your practice.
  • Finishing Sequence: Ah, the denouement! After a thrilling journey, the finishing sequence brings closure, a gentle landing after a thrilling flight. It consolidates the energies awakened and cultivated during the practice and integrates the physical benefits with the spiritual and emotional growth.

Now, imagine yourself as the protagonist in this captivating story. The Ashtanga Intermediate Series is your path, an exquisite route that navigates through the thickets of personal challenges and leads to a clearing, a space of luminous self-discovery. Are you ready to embark on this journey? Are you prepared to write your own story? Let’s turn the page together and begin!

Tips, Tricks, and Tales from the Mat: Navigating the Ashtanga Intermediate Series

The Ashtanga Intermediate Series, just like every other genuine path of transformation, isn’t devoid of challenges. But with every challenge comes growth, and with every fall, a lesson. Here’s how to navigate the exquisite labyrinth of Nāḍi Śodhana:

  • Master the Primary: One cannot stress enough the importance of grounding yourself in the Primary Series before embarking on the journey of the Intermediate Series. Consider the Primary as your yoga undergrad; you need to graduate before diving into postgrad, which in this case, is the Ashtanga Intermediate Series.
  • Seek Guidance: The world is full of resources, both human and material. Got a burning question about a posture? Seek out your local Ashtanga guru or a seasoned practitioner. Prefer self-study? There are myriad charts, videos, and literature online that delve into the intricacies of the Ashtanga Intermediate Series.
  • The Breath is Your Beacon: When in doubt, return to your breath. Ujjayi breathing, a staple in Ashtanga practices, will guide you through the most challenging postures, reminding you that every pose is transient, just like every moment.
  • It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your mastery over the Ashtanga Intermediate Series. Celebrate small victories, learn from the falls, and remember: it’s the journey, not the destination.
  • Listen to Your Body: No one knows your body like you do. If a posture feels off or triggers pain beyond the usual stretch, pull back. The Ashtanga Intermediate Series will always be there; prioritize your well-being first.

The Global Ashtanga Community: Connecting Through the Ashtanga Intermediate Series

From the bustling streets of Mysore in India to serene studios nestled in the heart of New York, there exists a vast, diverse, and incredibly tight-knit community brought together by their shared love for Ashtanga. And at the heart of this connection lies series like the Intermediate, serving as shared milestones and experiences.

  • Workshops & Retreats: Ever wanted to immerse yourself fully in the Ashtanga Intermediate Series? Around the globe, workshops and retreats cater explicitly to Intermediate Series enthusiasts. Here, you can dive deep, under the guidance of seasoned experts, surrounded by fellow enthusiasts.
  • Online Forums & Discussion Boards: In this digital age, physical distance is no barrier. Join forums, participate in online classes, or just engage in discussions about the Ashtanga Intermediate Series. Sites like and offer insights and platforms for Ashtangis to connect[1][4].
  • Local Sanghas (Communities): Every city, every town has its own tribe of Ashtanga lovers. Seek them out, practice together, and share tales from the mat. The journey through the Ashtanga Intermediate Series becomes even more rewarding when shared.
  • Cultural Exchange: The beauty of a global community? It’s a melting pot of cultures, experiences, and stories. Engaging with Ashtangis from different parts of the world not only broadens your perspective on the Ashtanga Intermediate Series but also on life.
  • Support Systems: Every yogi, at some point, faces challenges. Whether it’s a tricky posture in the Intermediate Series or a mental block, having a community means you have a support system, a group of people who’ve been there, done that, and can guide you through.

Embracing the Ashtanga Intermediate Series is not just about personal growth; it’s about becoming a part of a global family, each member on their unique journey, yet all connected through the shared language of Ashtanga.

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Conclusion: The Journey Continues

The Ashtanga Intermediate Series, with its complexities and nuances, is a testament to the endless possibilities of human potential. Whether you’re an Ashtanga novice or a seasoned practitioner, the series offers a chance to deepen, reflect, and evolve. Are you ready to take the leap?


Q1. What is the Ashtanga Intermediate Series?

A: It is the second series in the traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga sequence, focusing on purifying and aligning the body’s energy channels through challenging postures.

Q2. How does the Intermediate Series differ from the Primary Series?

A: While the Primary Series focuses on forward bends and hip openers, the Intermediate Series delves into backbends, twists, and inversions[3].

Q3. Is the Intermediate Series suitable for beginners?

A: Ideally, practitioners should have a solid foundation in the Primary Series before progressing to the Intermediate to ensure safety and understanding of the postures.

Q4. Where can I find resources to help with my practice?

A: There are numerous online resources, including detailed charts and explanations of each posture in the Intermediate Series.

Q5. How often should I practice the Intermediate Series?

A: As with any yoga practice, it’s essential to listen to your body. However, regular practice, ideally under the guidance of an experienced teacher, will yield the best results.

Q6. Why is the Intermediate Series called Nāḍi Śodhana?

A: Nāḍi Śodhana translates to “purification of the energy channels,” emphasizing the series’ primary purpose of aligning and purifying the body’s energy systems.

Q7. Can I mix the Primary and Intermediate Series in one session?

A: Traditionally, the series are practiced sequentially. Once the Primary Series is mastered, practitioners move on to the Intermediate, which then leads to the advanced series.

Q8. What benefits can I expect from practicing the Intermediate Series?

A: Benefits include increased strength, flexibility, improved energy flow, mental clarity, and heightened spiritual awareness.

Q9. Is Ashtanga Yoga suitable for all ages?

A: With modifications and guidance, Ashtanga can be adapted to suit practitioners of all ages. However, it’s crucial to consult with a teacher to ensure safety and suitability.

Q10. Are there any contraindications to practicing the Intermediate Series?

A: Those with specific injuries or medical conditions should seek professional advice before embarking on the Intermediate Series journey.

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