Did you know this about Ashtanga yoga?
Yoga affects everyone differently. For some, it is a way of mindfulness, while for others it is a way to keep their body healthy and energetic. Yoga benefits all the systems of the body.
Once you study all tenets of yoga, you will eventually realize that there are eight elements that work towards improving your mind, body, and breath that combine together in order to form the Yoga Sutra.
Ashtanga, the eight components of yoga
According to Patanjali, the creator of Yoga, it is a combination of eight components, in terms of practice and behavior. The eight components are:
- Yama: Yamas are the ethical rules of Hinduism and it is a state of Yoga as defined by Patanjali. The five Yamas defined by Patanjali are:
- Ahimsa means non-violence
- Satya means truthfulness
- Asteya means non-stealing
- Brahmacharya means abstaining from sexual desires
- Aparigraha means non-possessiveness/ non-greediness
These teachings of Patanjali imply how the above rules can help an individual grow to achieve oneness with your inner self and the whole wide world.
- Niyama: The second component is Niyama, which includes the habits and behaviors of an individual. The five Niayams are:
- Shaucha is purity and cleanliness of mind and body.
- Santosha means the acceptance of everything inside and around you.
- Tapas means persistence and a spirit that never gives up.
- Svadhyaya is the study of the self and knowledge
- Ishvarapranidhana is accepting the ultimate the reality that is GOD.
- Asana: Asana is the component that involves the physical aspect of Yoga. Various Poses and routines are a part of it that is performed to basically keep the body healthy so that they can take you to the journey towards salvation. A weak body will not be able to take the yamas and niyamas of Yoga and hence, these poses strengthen and keep the practitioner fit.
- Pranayama: It is the component that gives you the ability to constantly regulate your breath and help you concentrate. A constant motion of breath is of utmost importance when you practice Yoga in any form. In fact, nowadays most of the meditation coaches ask to concentrate on your breath to keep a rhythm and attention at a place.
- Pratyahara: The ability to retract your mind from the externality of this world and turning inwards for light and knowledge that is achieved in this component of Yoga. It doesn’t mean that you sit down closing your eyes and try to find the knowledge but it is the ability to feel the inside and turning inwards closing the mind to the process fo the sensory world. It enables you to stop being controlled by external environments. Like how Yogis and Sadhu do their tapsyasin extreme weather and still survive.
- Dharana: Dharana means bringing your mind to one point and state of mind. It could be anything that the mind is at- your body, breath or inner state. It implies entering a state of mind where you focus on one single thought/ action or word(chants).
- Dhyana: Dhyana is basically an extension to Dharana which is to bring your attention to one point whereas dhyana means contemplating the concentration built in the sixth limb of yoga. It is a state of complete concentration, a mind that is stable, at one point, concentrating on nothing else and not wandering at all, just for one and only one motive.
- Samadhi: It literally means to put together, unite or join. It is the union with the subject of meditation. To become what you been concentrating on, the state of no identity or possesions. Nothing else is present at this state there no practitioner or the object there is just oneness, a fusion of the thoughts, process, mind, and subject.
Yoga and meditation are usually a path towards salvation and Ashtanga yoga is the journey towards following that path. It is a very old and ancient art but highly revered one too!
Shivani Mehra is a budding author and a hopeless poet, a learning enthusiast and a dreamer who believes her dreams come true through writing