Yoga Sūtras is an ancient compilation by the great sage Patanjali. This practice of Rāja yoga has eight limbs also known as Ashtanga Yoga, a path of internal purification of the body and mind to deepen awareness of the Self. Ashtanga yoga is brought to the modern world by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, student of T.Krishnamacharya, the Father of modern yoga.
Ashtanga Yoga comprises Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The first four limbs are for external purification focused on building a strong body while the later four limbs are for internal purification focused on bringing the mind under control. This will alleviate the 6 poisons of the human existence that is the desire, anger, delusion, greed, miserliness, envy will one by one, go away completely revealing the Universal Self. In this way, diligent practice of Ashtanga Yoga under the direction of a Guru with a mind under total control on internal and external self eventually leads one to Self realization.
Yama and Niyama
It relates to codes of conduct that one needs to cultivate. Yama refers to restraints, things not to do while Niyama refers to observances, things to follow.
It is the yoga posture of the physical body to build a strong body. Improves core muscle flexibility, blood circulation and stimulates detoxification.
It is a series of breath work to regulate breathing to have one point focus. Breathing exercises increase the energy level, help in alleviating stress, improve mental clarity and physical health.
Withdrawal of senses to calm the mind. It is practicing not to react to the external stimuli, but experience them with a calm mind.
This is to have the mind focussed on a single object. It is a practice of concentration on a particular subject external or internal object like mantra or breathing. This helps in gaining control over mind to keep it calm and gain mental strength.
Practicing Dharana leads to Dhyana which is the deep concentration on a single object. In other words Dhyana is meditation, the perfected state of concentration.
It is a state when the meditator and object of meditation become one. This state of oneness or complete absorption of the individual soul with the infinite spirit( Divine) is the highest state that can be achieved with intense concentration (dhyana). Heartfulness meditation practice focuses mostly on dhyana and samadhi, realizing of Self.
Benefits of Ashtanga yoga
- Build stronger flexible muscles
- Enhanced stability and balance
- Weight loss
- Increases relaxation and rejuvenation
- Reduce Stress and Anxiety
- Reduce depression
- Improved breathing
- Lowers Blood pressure
- Improves Sleep quality
- Improved Blood circulation
- Detoxification of body
- Mind Control
- Enforce Positive Attitude
- Deepens Self awareness
- Evolve to higher states of consciousness
Hope you found this article useful. If you did like to know more, please check out the referenced sites below:
Heartfulness – Ashtanga yoga Introduction