Ashtanga Yoga

The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’. Yuj means joining. Yoga is the only technique, which deals with how to merge with “Jeevatma” and “Paramatma”.

It is a vast discipline aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit to achieve a state of enlightenment or self-realization. It is a science of right living and it works wonders when integrated into our daily life. It works on all aspects of the person; the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. The different branches of yoga prescribe different approaches and techniques, but ultimately leads to the same goal and enlightenment.

The essence of yoga is practical and scientific as it lays emphasis on direct experience and tangible results. It is not a religion, but a practice of self-inquiry and inner exploration. As the cultural and religious diversity of practitioners atleast yogic philosophy speaks of universal truths that can be incorporated into any belief system. All yoga practices have the same goal or destination – the discovery and fulfillment of the human potential.

The great sage Patanjali says, “Yogah citta vritti nirodhah” – Yoga is a conscious process of gaining mastery over the mind. Patanjali Yoga system is fully based on Raja Yoga, it is the path of will power. The eight limbs in Astanga Yoga as follows:

1. YAMA   (The disciplines, ‘DON’Ts: NISEDHAS)

  • AHIMSA – Non-Violence
  • SATYA – Truth
  • ASTEYA – Non-stealing
  • BRAHMACHARYA – Celibacy
  • APARIGRAHA – Hoarding & Collecting

2. NIYAMA   (The Injuction, DO’s: VIDHIS)

  • SAUCHA – Cleanliness
  • SANTOSA – Contentment
  • TAPAS – Purification
  • SVADHYAYA – Self Education
  • ISVARA PRANIDHANA – Dedication to the SUPREME LORD

3. YOGASANA   (The posture of the body)

4. PRANAYAMA   (The control of Prana/The life force/Breathing technique)

5. PRATYAHARA   (Restraint of senses from their objects of enjoyment)

6. DHARANA   (Focusing of mind)

7. DHYANA   (De-Concentration)

8. SAMADHI   (Super consciousness/Ultimate Peace/Non-doing process/Meditation)