Ashtanga Yoga – a term taken from the Sanskrit
Ashta = Eight
Anga = Limb
Yoga = Union
The wise man Patanjali, is the author of the Yoga Sutras and in his work he describes the spiritual foundations of yoga in general. The Yoga Sutra consists of 196 verses of Sanskrit divided into four chapters.
The eight level path describes the Ashtanga Yoga pathway. The eight so called limbs are connected together and built up on one another. Therefore, each limb is a necessary part. This means that no one limb is better or more valuable than the other.
Yama – Interpersonal behaviour
Niyama – Self observation
Asana – Body exercises
Pranayama – Breath control
Pratyahara – Withdrawal and control of the senses
Dharana – Concentration on the core of being
Dhyana – Meditation
Samadhi – A state of happiness and peace and self awareness.
Ashtanga Yoga, as practised today, can be attributed to the teachings of Sri K Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009). Sri K. Pattabhi Jois taught Ashtanga Yoga his entire life. He was a student of the Guru Sri T. Krishnamacharya. In his book YOGA MALA (The original Teachings of Ashtanga Yoga Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois), he describes the system of postures and the associated elements, such as:
The Sequence of Asanas,
Vinyasa and its meaning,
Bandhas (Mulabandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha),
Drishtis of the individual Asanas.
Regular and conscious practise of yoga offers us the opportunity to experience everything Patanjali described in his book “The Yoga Sutra”.
And as Sri K. Pattabhi Jois taught us: “Yoga is only 1% explanation and 99% doing”.