Ashtanga Yoga

Yoga has been derived from the word “yuja” in Sanskrit it means union. It is union of:
– mind and body,
– atma and parmatma

In ancient times Yoga has been found in ancient books commonly known as four vedas – atharva ved, rugved, saamved, yajurved. However, it was scattered all over the four vedas. It is Maharshi Patanjali,  the great sage, who compiled yoga in one compilation and it is labelled as Yoga Sutra. Ashtang yoga has been discussed in detail in yoga sutra.

In Sanskrit “Ashta + anga” is Ashtanga. “Ashta” means Eight and “Anga” is parts which makes it as Eight Parts path. The asanas, Pranayamas or the dharana or the yam and niyam are based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

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 Parts or Eight Fold path.

Eight Parts 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 / Pranayaam / Pranayam – (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.