Ashtanga Yoga are eight parts of Yoga was classified by Maharishi Pantanjali in the book “Yoga Darshan”.
These form a sequence from the outer state to the inner state of the soul.
- Yama (temperance )
- Niyama (practice )
- Asana (yoga postures )
- Pranayama (control of breath )
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses )
- Dharna (concentration )
- Dhyana (meditation )
- Samadhi (raptness)
In the book “ Yoga Darshan”, Maharishi Patanjali has given a clear explanation of Yoga.
He explained very precisely and scientifically, anyone who has an interest in Yoga should read this book.
If you are one of those you should read the book too.
Let’s start understanding them one by one.
Yama (temperance )
Yama consists of morally mandatory things.
Ahinsa – Non-violence towards other
Satya – Truthfulness in behavior
Satya – Non-Stealing
Brahmacharya– Celibacy and also realizing that we are made by the same energy
Aparigraha – No acquisitiveness
If we practice all these it will lead to forsaking of enmity
and it will lead to the feeling of friendship in our inner and outer state for everyone.
Niyama (practice )
The second thing is Niyama that states ‘ Habits’ to adopt.
Shaucha – Cleaning of Body and mind too
Santosh – Acceptance of situation and acceptance of others
Tapas – Determination
Svadhaya – Introspection of oneself
Ishavarapranidhana – Commitment of ‘Ishavara’
Patanjali states the benefits of ‘ Niyama’,
it will lead to the state when inner joy matter the most
and craving for external wasteful things vanishes.
Asana (yoga postures )
Asanas are the posture that one can hold for a prolonged time.
Pranayama (control on breath )
It means breath control .
Sitting in a comfortable position, and deliberately controlling the breathing.
Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses )
Pratyahara is closing your mind to the external world so that we no more distract from outside happening.
It is the transition of the First four parts of Ashtanga Yoga (external state of the body) to the last three parts (Inner state of the soul).
It helps one to stop being controlled by the external world and
gather all the energy to seek self-knowledge and happiness inbuilt in us.
Dharna (concentration )
Dharna means concentration and focus of mind on the particular inner state
without jumping from one topic to another.
Dhyana (meditation )
Dhyana is introspecting on the things Dharna focused on.
These two are closely related to each other.
Dhyana is the second step after Dharna.
For example – in Dharna, somebody focuses on any topic, Dhyana is to introspect that topic without any prejudice.
Observing every aspect of that thing.
Samadhi is that spiritual state when there is no difference between Meditator and Meditator.
When the mind loses the sense of its own identity and
there is only oneness.
Yoga is not limited to Asanas. It is a vast concept that starts with ‘Yama’. One of the most important steps that we always forget.
If YOU and I aspire to take maximum benefits from Yoga, we must add these to our schedule.