Ashtanga Yoga

Eight Limbs of Yoga: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.


Yama: Universal morality


Patanjali’s Yamas:


Ahimsa: Non-Violence

Satya Truth in word and thought and absence of falsehood

Asteya: Non-stealing

Brahmacharya: Abstain from sexual intercourse; celibacy in case of unmarried people and Faithful in case of married people; even this to the extent that one should not possess any sexual thoughts towards any other man or woman except one’s own spouse. It is common to associate Brahmacharya with celibacy.

Aparigraha: Absence of avarice (greed)


The Ten Traditional Yamas:


Ahimsa: Nonviolence; abstinence from injury; harmlessness, the not causing of pain to any living creature in thought, word, or deed at any time.

Satya: Truthfulness, word and thought in conformity with the facts.

Asteya: Non-stealing, non-coveting, non-entering into debt.

Brahmacharya: Divine conduct, continence, celibate when single, faithful when married.

Kshama: Patience, releasing time, functioning in the now.

Dhriti: Steadfastness, overcoming non-perseverance, fear, and indecision; seeing each task through to completion.

Daya: Compassion; conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings.

Arjava: Honesty, straightforwardness, renouncing deception and wrongdoing.

Mitahara: Moderate Appetite, neither eating too much nor too little; nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs.

Shaucha: Purity, avoidance of impurity in body, mind and speech. (Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras list this as the first of the Niyamas.)

Niyama: Personal observances

Patanjali’s Niyamas:

Shaucha: Purity, avoidance of impurity in body, mind and speech.

Santosha: Satisfaction; satisfied with what one has; contentment.

Tapas: Austerity.

Svādhyāya: Study of the Vedic scriptures to know more about God and the soul, which leads to introspection on a greater awakening to the soul and God within.

Ishvarapranidhana: Surrender to (or worship of) God.


Hri: Remorse, being modest and showing shame for misdeeds;

Santosha: Contentment; being satisfied with the resources at hand – therefore not desiring more;

Dana: Giving, without thought of reward;

Astikya: Faith, believing firmly in the teacher, the teachings and the path to enlightenment;

Ishvarapujana: Worship of the Lord, the cultivation of devotion through daily worship and meditation, the return to the source;

Siddhanta Shravana: Scriptural listening, studying the teachings and listening to the wise of one’s lineage;

Mati: Cognition, developing a spiritual will and intellect with the guru’s guidance;

Vrata: Sacred vows, fulfilling religious vows, rules and observances faithfully;

Japa: Recitation, chanting mantras daily;

Tapas: The endurance of the opposites; hunger and thirst, heat and cold, standing and sitting etc.

Asanas: Body Postures

It has been identified that there are 900 Asanas from all the texts Mahabarata, Bhagawwad Gita and Ptanjali’s Yoga Sutra.

Pranayama: Breathing exercises, and control of prana

Pranayama is the measuring, control, and directing of the breath. Pranayama controls the energy (prana) within the organism, in order to restore and maintain health and to promote evolution. When the in-flowing breath is neutralized or joined with the out-flowing breath, then perfect relaxation and balance of body activities are realized. In yoga, we are concerned with balancing the flows of vital forces, then directing them inward to the chakra system and upward to the crown chakra.

Pratyahara: Control of the senses

Pratyahara means drawing back or retreat. The word ahara means “nourishment”; pratyahara translates as “to withdraw oneself from that which nourishes the senses.” In yoga, the term pratyahara implies withdrawal of the senses from attachment to external objects. It can then be seen as the practice of non-attachment to sensorial distractions as we constantly return to the path of self realization and achievement of internal peace. It means our senses stop living off the things that stimulate; the senses no longer depend on these stimulants and are not fed by them anymore.

Dharana: Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness

Dharana means “immovable concentration of the mind”. The essential idea is to hold the concentration or focus of attention in one direction.  “When the body has been tempered by asanas, when the mind has been refined by the fire of pranayama and when the senses have been brought under control by pratyahara, the sadhaka (seeker) reaches the sixth stage, dharana. Here he is concentrated wholly on a single point or on a task in which he is completely engrossed. The mind has to be stilled in order to achieve this state of complete absorption.”

Dhyana: Devotion, Meditation on the Divine

Dhyana means worship, or profound and abstract religious meditation. It is perfect contemplation. It involves concentration upon a point of focus with the intention of knowing the truth about it. The concept holds that when one focuses their mind in concentration on an object the mind is transformed into the shape of the object. Hence, when one focuses on the divine they become more reflective of it and they know their true nature. “His body, breath, senses, mind, reason and ego are all integrated in the object of his contemplation – the Universal Spirit.

Samadhi: Union with the Divine

The final step in the eight-fold path of Yoga is the attainment of Samadhi. Samadhi means “to bring together, to merge.” In the state of samadhi the body and senses are at rest, as if asleep, yet the faculty of mind and reason are alert, as if awake; one goes beyond consciousness. During samadhi, we realize what it is to be an identity without differences, and how a liberated soul can enjoy pure awareness of this pure identity. The conscious mind drops back into that unconscious oblivion from which it first emerged.

Source: Multiple Location.


2 thoughts on “Ashtanga Yoga

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s