Ashtanga Yoga

 There are mainly two school of yoga Ashtanga yoga (8 limbs to masters the mind) and Hatha yoga (mastery of the body and mind). Today, you can see many yoga styles and yoga systems, but all these yoga styles and systems will come under one or another yoga of above streams. Eg-Iyengar yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Bikram yoga or hot yoga, Yin yoga, Kundalini yoga, Power Yoga, etc. today, yoga is mainly based on physical aspects. hence, Hatha Yoga is the parent for today’s yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga This is commonly know as classical yoga contributed by the Father of Yoga, Sage Pathanjali. Through his 8limbs (Ashtanga Yoga) he has given a complete frame work to the Indian yoga than all Previous yoga concepts in terms of 196 Sutra or aphorisms in his great yoga text YOGA SUTRA. Yoga sutra mainly deals with spiritua discipline, You can also call Raja yoga(Royal Yoga) because it is mastery of the Mind and self. Ashtanga Yoga consists of Bahiranga Yoga (Indirect Method) and Antarang Yoga (Direct Method). Bahiranga Yoga or external Yoga has five components: Yama (DON’Ts), Niyama (Do’s), Asana(Posture), Pranayama(Breath Regulation) and Pratyahara (Mastery over senses) Antaranga Yoga has three components : Dharna(intense concentration), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (State of Super Consciousness). All these explained as below:


Yama (Social Descipline):

There are five

  1. AHIMSA ( non-violence)
  2. SATYA ( not to tell a lie)
  3. ASTEYA ( non-theft)
  4. BRAHMACHARYA ( non-indulgence)
  5. APARIGRAHA ( non- accumulation)

Sanskrit Explanations:

  • AHIMSA : AHIMSA PRATISHTHAYAM TAT-SAMNIDHAU VAIRA-THAGAH Abandonment of hostility in the presence of a yogi set in non-violence.
  • SATYA : SATYA-PRATISHTHAYAM KRIYA-PHALA-ASRAYATVAM Development of intuitive faculty in a yogi set in Truthfulness
  • ASTEYA : ASTEYA- PRATISHTHAYAM SARVA-RATNA-UPASTHANAM Knowledge of hidden treasure to a yogi set in Non-theft
  • BRAHMACHARYA : BRAHMACHARYA PRATISHTHAYAM VIRYA-LABHAH Gain of vigour for a yogi set in Non-indulgence
  • APARIGRAHA : APARIGRAHA – STHAIRYE JANMA – KATHAMTA – SAMOBODHAH Mystery of life resolved for one who is established in Non-possession

Niyama (individual disciplines):

Niyama are also five:

  1. SAUCHA ( purity, both external and internal)
  2. SANTHOSHA( contentment)
  3. TAPAS ( austerity)
  4. SWADHYAYA ( self- study)
  5. ISHWARA-PRANIDHANA ( surrender to the Divine)

Sanskrit explanation

  • SOUCHA OR PURITY : SAUCHAT SVANGA-JUGUPSE PARAIH – ASAMSARGAH From ( practice ) of Purity, disillusionment and detachment from gross bodies SATTVA-SUDDHI-SAUMANSYA-AIKAGRYA-INDRIYA-JAYA-ATMA-DARSANAA-YOGYATAMCHA From mental purity Sattva, cheerfulness, concentration, mastery over senses and capacity to ‘see’ the Self
  • SANTHOSHA : SANTHOSHAT-ANUTTAMAH SUKHA-LABHAH From Contentment, superlative happiness
  • TAPAS : KAYA-INDRIYA-SIDDHI-ASUDDHI-KSHAYAT TAPASAH From Austerity, destruction of impurity and perfection of body and sense organs
  • SWADHYAYA : SWADHYAYAT- ISTA-DEVATA-SAMPRAYOGAH From Self-study, union with the desired deity.
  • ISHWARA PRANIDHANA : SAMADHI-SIDHI-ISWARA-PRANIDHANAT from Surrender to the Divine accomplishment of Samadhi

Asana( Body posture):

Sthira Sukham Asanam ( Posture shold be stable and relaxed) Prayatna Saithilya Ananta Samapatibhyam ( (Relax it) by withdrawing the effort and attuning to infinity) Tath Dvandwa Ana-abhi-Gatah ( Then freedom from the pairs of opposite)

Pranayama(Science of breathing):

Tasmin sati svasa prasvasyoh gati vicchedah pranayama(II-49) After mastering posture, one must practice control of the prana(pranayama) by stopping the motions of inhalation and exhalation. The breath may be stopped externally, or internally, or checked in mid-motion, and regulated according to place, time and a fixed number of moments, so that the stoppage is either protracted or brief

  1. Two results: Tatah ksiyate prakash avarana(II-52), i.e. The inner effulgence is uncovered and
  2. Dharanasu ca yogayata manasah(II-53) i.e. The mind becomes capable of Dharana(Pre-meditative state).

Pratyahara

(withdrawal of sense organs “Jnana Indriyas and Karma Indriyas(action organs) SWAVISHAYASAMPRAYOGE CHITHASWAROPANUKARA IVENDRIYANAM PRATYAHARAH When the mind is withdrawn from sense-objects, the sense-organs also withdraw themselves from their objects and are said to imitate the mind. This is known as pratyahara. TATAH PARAMA VASHAYATHENDRIYANAMRA Thence arises complete mastery over the senses

Dharana(intense concentration):

DESHA BANDHA CHITTASYA DHARANA Holding the ‘mind’ at one point is Dharana

Dhyana (Meditation):

TATRA PRATYAYA EKA-TANATA DHYANAM (In the state of meditation) the ‘object’ is retained continuously ( un-interrupted) ( in mind) (Un-interrupted flow of consciousness towards the object)

Samadhi (State of Superconsciousness):

TADEVA ARTHA MATRA NIRBHASAM, SWARUPA SUNYAM IVA SAMADHI (When) the same object only shines, as if(you) are not there, it is Samadhi ( In the state of samadhi only the object remains, the self is, as if, not there) This is called Triputi bhanga i.e, the merger of the Seer ( Subject), process of seeing and Seen ( Object)

  • Yama( You will learn social discipline and comfort life in the society)
  • Niyama(You will learn self discipline and enough preparation to continue yoga journey)
  • Asanas( Remove physical deformities to make body healthy and to sit with stability and comfort)
  • Pranayama( channelizing prana for connection purposes)
  • Prathyahara( withdraw sense organs to stop mind from peeping out .Before coming to Dharana we have to learn Ekagratha ( Focusing-Single Object, Multiple thoughts) to tame the randomness of mind ( chanchalatha-Multiple object, Multiple thoughts))
  • DHARANA ( Single object, Single thought with effort along with distractions )
  • DHYANA ( Single object , single thought effortlessly without distractions)
  • SAMADHI( Only the object with single thought shines-oneness-enlightenment stage)

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