Ashtanga is a system of yoga that was brought to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. 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.
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 Positions or Yogic Postures)
A stable and comfortable posture which helps attain mental equilibrium.
4. Pranayama (Yogic 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.