Ashtanga is a Sanskrit word where Ashta means eight and tanga means limbs. Ashtanga yoga is the ancient yoga system in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Patanjali determines the practices of yoga by outlining the 8 limbs of yoga, and all of them are interconnected.
Through the understanding and daily practice of the 8 limbs of yoga, the impurities in the mind and body are destroyed completely, and all obstacles that restrict you from knowing your true self are eliminated.
8 Limbs of Yoga: Detailed Study
Read further and learn more regarding the 8 limbs of yoga in detail.
There are five Yamas in total that take care of our inner behavior and how we interact with the external world. The five Yamas are namely non-violence, non-stealing, truthfulness, celibacy, and non-possessiveness.
- Ahinsa – Non Violence
This Yama means being non-violent in thought, word, and action. It teaching you that walking on the path of non-violence will cease others around you from being hostile.
- Satya – Truthfulness
The second Yama means to stay truthful in both words as well as actions and walk on the path of truth throughout your life. It also means if you speak the truth, you automatically strong and powerful. By being truthful, whichever way you go or whatever action you take, you will always end up being successful.
- Asteya – Non-Stealing
The third Yama means to not steal someones’ wealth, property, and ideas of work. When you immerse yourself completely in non-stealing, jewels present themselves automatically in front of you, without even you having to ask for it.
- Brahmacharya – Abstinence
Living a lifestyle where you concentrating on higher things rather than focusing on your desires is exactly what the fourth Yama of Ashtanga yoga says. It develops you spiritually and you get to attain vitality.
- Aparigraha – Non Possessiveness
The fifth Yama tells you to not be greedy and not seek to possess ideas. One who overcomes this possessiveness will gain knowledge of the past, present, as well as the future. It’s a win-win situation.
There are five niyamas in total namely, purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and devotion to the divine. It makes you value the importance of interacting with yourselves.
- Sauca – Purity
The first niyama teaches you to keep yourself pure not just internally, but also externally by keeping your mind, body, and environment clean and friendly.
- Santosha – Contentment
The second niyama teaches you to stay happy with whatever you have in life. This will give you immense inner joy. From implementing contentment in your life, you surely will gain happiness.
- Tapas – Self Discipline
If you want to gain clarity in life, then self-discipline is of importance. Through tapas, you will attain spiritual strength, and your body and mind will be purified. By practicing self discipline, your inner impurities are also destroyed.
- Svadhyaya – Self Study
The fourth means to engage yourselves and explore the knowledgeable areas. Self-study will lead to the realization of your true self, it will make you believe in yourself. By practicing self-study, you also completely immerse yourself in the study of the deity that you have chosen.
- Isvara Pranishana – Devotion To The Divine
The fifth niyama teaches you to leave your ego behind and surrender yourself to the ultimate supreme being. By surrounding God, you will surely attain Samadhi.
We all know what the word asana means, but just to be clear, it means to sit steadily and comfortably. By practicing yoga asanas on a daily basis, your purify you mind, body, and soul. Also read Vinyasa yoga poses
Pramayama [Breath Control]
By controlling your breath, you get control over your mind. By practicing pranayama on a regular basis, you also get to purify your body and soul. This way you learn to see positivity in things and change your perspective about a lot of things in life.
Pratyahara: Sense Withdrawal [Independence From External Stimuli]
Pratyahara teaches you to bind your sense. Binding your sense and returning them to your mind from the external world is called pratyahara. When pratyahara is rises in the body, you are slowly and silently prepared for concentration.
Dharna [One Pointed Concentration]
Dharana teaches you to focus on one thought, one object, one mantra, or one chakra at a time. During this process, your subconscious mind is in full control. Dharana binds your mind to one idea or an object.
Dhyana teaches you to concentrate effortlessly. In this state, your mind is under complete control and free of any distracting or disturbing thought.
Samadhi: Conscious State [Self Realisation & Absorption]
Samadhi is like being in a state where your consciousness is dissolved into pure cosmic consciousness.