Ashtanga Yoga - THE HINDU PORTAL - Spiritual heritage Rituals and Practices

JUST IN

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga
What is Ashtanga Yoga, and how is it different than other methods?

We first need to begin with the general definition of Yoga itself.

Simply stated, Yoga is a philosophy of living. It goes beyond a purely physical practice, and becomes a way to integrate our body, mind, and spirit; transcend our personal limitations; and eventually understand our own true nature.



    The eight limbs are:
    1. Yama - Rules of Social Conduct
    2. Niyama - Rules of Personal Behaviour
    3. Aasana - Physical Postures
    4. Praanaayaama - Control of Vital Force
    5. Pratyaahaara - Control of the Senses
    6. Dhaarana - Right Attention or Concentration
    7. Dhyaana - Meditation
    8. Samaadhi - Absorption
    The first five limbs (from Yama to Pratyaahara) make up the outer aspect of Yoga and the last three (Dhaarana, Dhyaana, Samaadhi) are called Samyama or Integration. Yama and Niyama refer to the right attitudes, values and lifestyle practices necessary for Yoga, its ethical foundation. Aasana, Praanaayaama and Pratyaahaara are the means to control the outer aspects of our nature as body, breath and senses. Attention or concentration naturally leads to Meditation, which in time results in Absorption or the Unification of the Perceiver, the Perceived and the process of Perception. We get the knowledge of our true Self..

    Yama
    The five Yamas or the dharmic principles of social behaviour are:
    1. Ahimsa - nonviolence
    2. Satya - truthfulness
    3. Asteya - non-stealing
    4. Brahmacharya - abstinence or control of Sexual energy
    5. Anabhinivesa - non-clinging or detachment
    Niyama
    The five Niyamas or the dharmic principles of personal behaviour are:
    1. Santosha - contenment
    2. Saucha - purity
    3. Svaadhyaaya - self-study
    4. Tapas - self-discipline
    5. Iswara pranidhaana - surrender to God
    Aasana
    Aasana means right posture or the posture in harmony with our inner consciousness. Aasanas bring harmony to the physical body, particularly the musculoskeletal system that is the support of the body.

    Praanaayaama
    Praana means life force and Aayama means extension or expansion. Praanaayaama is not simply breath control but the controlled expansion of the life force. It consists of deepening and extending the Praana until it leads to a condition of Peace. When Praana is at peace, the life force the senses, emotions and mind are out to rest.

    Pratyaahaara
    Prati means counteracting or controlling and Aahaara means bringing near or fetching. Here Aahaara is to be taken as our sensory organs. Pratyaahaara is the right management of the senses to put them to rest. The techniques involved in Pratyaahaara either shut off the senses, like closing the eyes or ears, or using our senses with attention and concentration rather than distraction. This includes the various forms of Mantras or visualizations or listening to our inner sounds (naada).

    Dhaarana
    Dhaarana means holding or controlling. It involves developing and extending our power of attention. The techniques involve various ways of directing our attention like concentrating on the six chakras, Ishta devata, and the like.

    Dhyaana
    Dhyaana means contemplating, meditating. Meditation is the natural state of awareness. Meditation helps us to realize our own self. The object of meditation may be an external object like the ocean, sky, space, Ishta devata or an idea or a principle. It may be with a form (Saguna) or totally formless (nirguna).

    Samaadhi
    Samaadhi is but becoming one with the object of our perception. It is the absorption of ourselves into the consciousness that shows joy and fulfillment in life. It brings us to the underlying Divine nature in all the things. It is the natural outcome of true meditation.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment

    Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. By Writing Your Comments with Registered User - includes OpenID