The Eight Limbs of Yoga

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

Ashtanga Yoga Background

Ashtanga yoga is system of yoga recorded by the sage Vamana Rishi within the Yoga Korunta, associate ancient manuscript “said to contain lists of the many completely different groupings of asanas, also as extremely original teachings on vinyasa, drishti, bandhas, mudras, and philosophy”. The text of the Yoga Korunta “was imparted to Sri T. Krishnamacharya within the early 1900’s by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, and was later passed all the way down to Pattabhi Jois throughout the period of his studies with Krishnamacharya, starting in 1927”. Since 1948, Pattabhi Jois has been teaching Ashtanga yoga from his yoga shala, the Ashtanga Yoga analysis Institute, per the sacred tradition of Guru Parampara.

Ashtanga yoga virtually suggests that “eight-limbed yoga,” as printed by the sage Patanjali within the Yoga Sutras. per Patanjali, the trail of internal purification for revealing the Universal Self consists of the subsequent eight non secular practices:

Yama [moral codes]
Niyama [self-purification and study]
Asana [posture]
Pranayama [breath control]
Pratyahara [sense control]
Dharana [concentration]
Dhyana [meditation]
Samadhi [absorption into the Universal]

The first four limbs—yama, niyama, asana, pranayama—are thought of external cleansing practices. per Pattabhi Jois, defects within the external practices square measure correctable. However, defects within the internal cleansing practices—pratyahara, dharana, dhyana—are not correctable and might be dangerous to the mind unless the right Ashtanga yoga methodology is followed. For this reason, Pattabhi Jois emphasizes that the “Ashtanga Yoga methodology is Patanjali Yoga”.

The definition of yoga is “the dominant of the mind”. the primary two steps toward dominant the mind square measure the perfection of Yama and niyama. However, it’s “not doable to apply the limbs and sub-limbs of Yama and niyama once the body and sense organs square measure weak and haunted by obstacles”. someone should 1st take up daily posture apply to create the body robust and healthy. With the body and sense organs so stable, the mind is steady and controlled. With mind management, one is in a position to pursue and grasp these 1st two limbs.

To perform posture properly in Ashtanga yoga, one should incorporate the employment of vinyasa and tristhana. “Vinyasa suggests that respiratory and movement system. for every movement, there’s one breath. as an example, in Hindu deity Namskar there square measure 9 vinyasas. the primary vinyasa is breathing  whereas raising your arms over your head, and putt your hands together; the second is eupnoeic whereas bending forward, inserting your hands next to your feet, etc. during this manner all asanas square measure appointed a particular range of vinyasas”.

“The purpose of vinyasa is for internal cleansing”. Synchronizing respiratory and movement within the asanas heats the blood, cleanup and cutting it so it’s going to flow into additional freely. Improved blood circulation relieves joint pain and removes toxins and malady from the interior organs. The sweat generated from the warmth of vinyasa then carries the impurities out of the body. Through the employment of vinyasa, the body becomes healthy, light-weight and robust.

Tristhana refers to the union of “three places of attention or action: posture, respiratory system and searching place. These 3 square measure important for yoga apply, and canopy 3 levels of purification: the body, systema nervosum and mind. they’re invariably performed in conjunction with every other”.

Posture: “The methodology for purifying and strengthening the body is termed asana”. In Ashtanga yoga, posture is classified into six series. “The Primary Series detoxifies and aligns the body. The Intermediate Series [Nadi Shodhana] purifies the systema nervosum by gap and clearing the energy channels. The Advanced Series A, B, C, and D integrate the strength and beauty of the apply, requiring higher levels of flexibility and humility. every level is to be absolutely developed before continuing to future, and also the ordered order of asanas is to be meticulously followed. every posture may be a preparation for future, developing the strength and balance needed to maneuver further”. while not associate earnest effort and reverence towards the apply of Yama and niyama, however, the apply of posture is of very little profit .

Breathing: The respiratory technique performed with vinyasa is termed ujjayi, that consists of puraka and rechaka. “Both the inhale and exhale ought to be steady and even, the length of the inhale ought to be a similar length because the exhale”. Over time, the length and intensity of the inhalation and exhalation ought to increase, specified the accrued stretching of the breath initiates the accrued stretching of the body. Long, even respiratory conjointly will increase the interior hearth and strengthens and purifies the systema nervosum.

Bandhas square measure essential elements of the ujjayi respiratory technique. Bandha suggests that “lock” or “seal”. the aim of bandha is to unlock pranic energy and direct it into the seventy two,000 nadi of the delicate body. Mula bandha is that the anal lock, and uddiyana bandha is that the lower abdominal lock. each bandhas “seal in energy, offer lightness, strength and health to the body, and facilitate to make a robust internal fire”. Mula bandha operates at the basis of the body to confine prana internally for uddiyana bandha to direct the prana upwards through the nadis. Jalandhara bandha is that the “throat lock”, that “occurs impromptu in a very delicate type in several asanas attributable to the dristi, or head position”. “This lock prevents pranic energy escaping and stops any build-up of pressure within the head once holding the breath”. while not bandha management, “breathing won’t be correct, and also the asanas can offer no benefit”.

Looking Place: Dristhi is that the gazing purpose on that one focuses whereas playing the posture. “There square measure 9 dristhis: the nose, between the eyebrows, navel, thumb, hands, feet, up, right facet and left facet. Dristhi purifies and stabilizes the functioning of the mind”. within the apply of posture, once the mind focuses strictly on inhalation, exhalation, and also the drishti, the ensuing deep state of concentration paves the manner for the practices of dharana and dhyana, the six and seventh limbs of Ashtanga yoga.

Instruction in pranayama will begin once one has learned the asanas well and might apply them with ease. “Pranayama suggests that taking within the delicate power of the important wind through rechaka , puraka, and kumbhaka. solely these kriyas, practiced in conjunction with the 3 bandhas and in accordance with the principles, is referred to as pranayama”. The 3 bandhas square measure “mula bandha, uddiyana bandha, and jalandhara bandha, and that they ought to be performed whereas active posture and also the like”. “When mula bandha is ideal, mind management is automatic”. “In this fashion did Patanjali begin Yoga. By victimisation mulabandha and by dominant the mind, he step by step gained information of Yoga”.

Practicing posture for several years with correct vinyasa and tristhana provides the scholar the clarity of mind, steadiness of body, and purification of the systema nervosum to start the prescribed pranayama apply. “Through the apply of pranayama, the mind becomes inactive in a very single direction and follows the movement of the breath”. Pranayama forms the muse for the interior cleansing practices of Ashtanga yoga.

The four internal cleansing practices—pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi—bring the mind in restraint. once purification is complete and mind management happens, the Six Poisons encompassing the non secular heart [kama (desire), krodha (anger), moha (delusion), lobha (greed), matsarya (sloth), and mada (envy)]—”will, one by one, go completely” (Stern and Summerbell 35), revealing the Universal Self. during this manner, the right, diligent apply of Ashtanga Yoga below the direction of a Guru “with a subdued mind unbound from the external and internal sense organs” eventually leads one to the complete realization of Patanjali’s eight-limbed yoga.