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Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga


In Sanskrit "Ashta + anga" is Ashtanga. "Ashta" means Eight and "Anga" is limbs so it means Eight Limb path, ashtanga yoga is based on Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali. The asanas, Pranayamas or the dharana which we have studied earlier or the yam and niyam are based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Hence, we will acquaint ourselves with the fundamentals as stated by Patanjali first.

History of Ashtanga Yoga

Yoga has its roots about 5000 years BC as described in Vedic Philosophy and Tantras. Patanjali , great sage composed this path into a Darshan(Philosophy) in his Book Patanjal Yoga Sutra. In which he has formulated Yoga as a Eight Limbs or Eight Fold path.

Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga

1. Yama (Principles or moral code)
  • Ahimsa - A principle of non-violence

  • Satya - A principle of Truthfulness

  • Asteya - A principle of non stealing

  • Brahmacharya - Continence / Celibacy

  • Aparigah - A principle of non-hoarding or non possessiveness
2. Niyama (Personal Disciplines)
  • Shoucha - Purity

  • Santosh - Contentment

  • Tapa - Endurance

  • Swadhyaya - Self study

  • Eshwar Pranidhan - Dedication
3. Asana - (Yoga Postures / positions)
A stable and comfortable posture which helps attain mental equilibrium.


4. Pranayama - (Yoga Breathing)
Extension and control of breath.


5. Pratyahara - (Withdrawal of Senses)
A mental preparation to increase the power of mind.


6. Dharana - (Concentration on Object)
Concentration of mind on one object and its field.


7. Dhyan - (Meditation)
With drawing mind from all external objects and Focusing it on one point and meditating on it.


8. Samadhi - (Salvation)
State of Super bliss, joy and merging individual consciousness in to universal consciousness. Union between Jivatman and Paramatman. Union of Shiva and Shakti in Sahasrar Chakra (the top of the head). Realizing the Bramhan (pure consciousness) or Realization of God is the ultimate achievement of Human Birth.
 
 
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