Aṣṭāṅga Yoga

aṣṭāṅga (pronounced ‘ash-taangah’ ) ~ eight parts

Patañjali codified the teaching of yoga into an method of eight parts. He advised that through consistent practice (abhyāsha) and non-attachment (vairāgya) this method will yield success.

  • YAMA

    Restraint

    Ahiṁsā – non-violence
    Satya – truth
    Asteya – non-stealing
    Brahmacarya – sexual continence
    Aparigraha – non-acquisitveness

  • NIYAMA

    Observance

    Śauca – cleanliness
    Santoṣa – contentment
    Tapas – austerity/discipline
    Svādhyāya – continual learning
    Īśvara praṇidhāna – surrender to the highest

  • ĀSANA

    Seated Posture

    II.46 Āsana is a steady comfortable posture.

    II.47 By lessening the natural tendency for restlessness and by meditating on the infinite, posture is mastered.

    II.48 Thereafter, one is undisturbed by dualities.

  • PRĀṆĀYĀMA

    Breath regulation

    II.49 With posture acquired, the movement of inhalation and exhalation should be controlled. This is prāṇāyāma.

    II.52 As a result, the veil over the inner light is destroyed.

    II.53 And the mind becomes fit for concentration.’

  • PRATYĀHĀRA

    Sense withdrawl

    II.54 When the senses withdraw themselves from the object and imitate, as it were, the nature of the mind-stuff, this is pratyāhāra.

    II.55 Then follows supreme mastery over the senses.

  • DHĀRAṆĀ

    Focus

    III.1 Dhāraṇā is fixing the the mind to one place, object or idea.

  • DHYĀNA

    Absorption

    III.2 When awareness flows evenly towards the point of attention, this is known as Dhyāna.

  • SAMĀDHI

    Clear Perception

    III.3 Samādhi is that condition of illumination, where union disappears, only the meaning of the object on which the attention is fixed is present.

*Translation: Swami Satchidananda

Practice of the eight limbs of yoga is the means of eradicating impurities, just as an axe is the means of severing wood.

– Vyāsa’s Commentary 2-28 –

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