What is Ashtanga Yoga? Benefits and poses that you should know

What is Ashtanga Yoga? Benefits and poses that you should know

Life is constantly moving in circles and every direction possible. Moving left to right, right to left, up and down, down and up, and in every other dimension

Mickey MehtaUpdated: Friday, February 24, 2023, 09:44 PM IST
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Life is constantly moving in circles and every direction possible. Moving left to right, right to left, up and down, down and up, and in every other dimension. Movement causes instability. To counter this and bring stability, yoga helps.

Yoga brings absolute equilibrium, silence. From noise to silence, disturbance to harmony, pull and push to equilibrium, from absolute disruption and turbulence to absolute imbalance, yoga brings you to balance.

There are several yoga exercises that have different benefits. In this case, ashtanga yoga can help. Ashtanga can be explained in very many other ways, one being the eight limbs of yoga.

The eight limbs of yoga, which make a broken man complete, help translate a manushya into purushya, which means prakruti transcend purusharth. It helps to neutralise all personalities. Parmaath to purusharth is the journey of Ashtanga and the divinity of wholeness, the divinity of absolute oneness. In that oneness, is the music of yoga – sangeet.

Sangat + Geet = Sangeet of health, healing and wholeness

Ashtanga Yoga = Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyaana, Samadhi

Yama: It is about how we behave and interact with the world. It is about ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), non-aggression, peace, bliss, ananda (happiness), karuna. We must live with as much we need. We must do things selflessly without having any expectations.

Niyama: It deals with our personal discipline and practices. Practising cleanliness, contentment or santosha, Austerity which is not falling prey to desires and aspirations unnecessarily and leaving it quite simply in the centre. Svadhyaya will be chanting or jhapa of mantra or reading of religious books and scriptures. Ishvara Pranidhana is complete belief in Prabhu and doing things for Prabhus sake.

Asana: Sitting or yoga postures which should be steady, comfortable and relaxed. Being in equilibrium at this physical level helps to connect with the spiritual level.

Pranayama: It is the breath work  or breath control practised with different asanas, the inhalation and the exhalation and holding of breath as per individuals capacity.

Pratyahara: Moving out from the outside world and looking within. It is about withdrawing our awareness from the world outside to turning inwards. In this stage, one has the control over physiological responses and does not give in easily to the wants.

Dharana: Focused and complete concentration where our mind is fixed on a particular meditation or chant. 

Dhyana: This is the stage where one is so focused that meditation happens without any interruption. Meditation with blankness. Meditation with nothingness. Meditation emptying oneself. Getting centred with the being. 

Samadhi: This is called the final stage of enlightenment. One is completely absorbed and dissolved. It is the state where the drop of water becoming one with that of the ocean. It is about losing oneself to finding oneself. It is about knowing your true nature, being completely blank, empty, labelless, timeless, placeless and formless.

If we were to put it in simple words, self-discipline, observation of alignment, postures in poetry, breath regulated in discipline, internalising of senses, putting attention and focus onto something and having determination to do something, an absolute evolution. 

Ashtanga yoga sets you on the path of evolution. It puts you on the ladder of evolution, rising higher and higher. This higher is not going anywhere. This higher is simply evolving to a point of refinement and the path of absolute refined purush personality or purusharth personality expresses itself in its wholeness, flowering, blossoming with vibrancy and radiance.

(Mickey Mehta is a global leading holistic health guru and life coach; website: www.drmickeymehta.com. You can follow him on:

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