Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga

Posted on 2018-04-18


Eastern society has been following Vedic Science for centuries. Many spiritual teachers are known as 'Sadhu', 'Swami', 'Rishi', 'Guru' etc. "Rishi Kapila, created the first systematic philosophy of mankind, the 'Samkhya'. Since the truth could not be found spontaneously any more, it has to be reached in systematic steps. Kapila's great achievement was that he created a meditation system that guided students to freedom using a completely rational scientific method totally free of any religious influence.

Among many spiritual teachers modern explainer of Yoga science is "Maharsi Patanjali". He has written "Patanjali Yoga sutra”. According to Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Yoga controls the thought (Chitta). It restraints a mental operation. As he describes the root cause of many diseases are uncontrolled thought. Patanjali has described 'Astang Yoga' (Eight types of Yoga), which are:

 i. Yama                                                          ii. Niyama

iii. Asana                                                       iv. Pranayama

 v.  Pratayahara                                          vi. Dhyana

vii. Dharana and                                        viii. Samadhi

Yama:

            The first step of Yoga is called Yama and second step is Niyama. Yama and Niyama are personal, social and character related disciplined of each person. These are the foundations of life. In these foundations, human life should be strong. It creates confidence, self-esteem, moral, result oriented, self-discipline and many more for the person. These factors cope for life events, manage and make self confidence and reduce stress level.

            There are five types of Yama namely, Ahimsa (Non violence), Satya (Truth), Asteya (Non-stealing), Brahamacharya (Celibacy), Aparigraha (Non desire).

            Ahimsa (Non Violence): It means do not provide any pain and suffering by thought, action and words to any living being. If we adopt it, no one will suffer from any tension and stress. Cause of tension and stress are to give pain to other in either way. If one gives pain to other he or she also counters it. Non  violent person will always be happy, there will not be chance of falling on  un happy and stress in non violent state.

     1. Satya (Truth): Satya makes us be truthful in all our activities. Satya is always guided by keeping true speech, true action and truthful thinking. It is better to keep silence than to be untruthful.

     2. Asteya (Non stealing): This type of Yoga is followed by the activities like never indulging in stealing, taking bribes, black-marketing, smuggling and adulteration. Always feel satisfied on property, not to be greedy of one's own others wealth or possessions.

     3. Brahmacharya (Celibacy): Brahmacharya is the process of keeping sense organs-including the organs of procreation-under control and not to be tempted by the thoughts of lustful enjoyment works and deed. For an ordinary householder, it means indulging in the sexual act for producing offspring, only with one's spouse is Brahmachrya (Celibacy). In summary, act as Brahma is called Brahmachrya.

     4. Aparigraha (Non-Hoarding): It means abstaining from excessive accumulation of material things. Enjoying only with needed materials by a person can be defined as the process of Aparigraha. The process of rejecting to collect or hold more than one's need is the part of Aparigraha.

Niyama:

The second step of Astanga Yoga is Niyama. There are five types of Niyama, namely Sauch (Cleanliness), Santosh (Contentment), Tapa (Meditation), Swadhya (Self education), Ishor pranidhana (Complete surrender to God's will); which are defined briefly here:

    1. Sauch (Cleanliness): Sauch refers to internal and external purity. There are six types of Yogic purification for Sauch. Mind purity is achieved through giving up of     attachment, jealousy and other basic ideas.

    2. Santosha (Contentment): Human desires are unlimited but the Santosha is the state of curbing the desire for more and remain satisfied with what we have. In other words, the process of Santosha covers satisfying your achievements and practicing further but being no greedy to more desires.

    3. Tapa (Meditation): Tapa is the process of concentrating fully on your work whatever you do to keep the mind detached and under control and bear pleasure or pain, cold and heat, hunger and thirst with equanimity. It increases our power of tolerance and continues our practice with perseverance.

    4. Swadhaya (Self education): It means realization to own self by increasing knowledge by studying of spiritual books. One has to always study and analyses one's own self, by relating his/her spirit with holy spirit.

    5. Ishwora Pranidhan (Complete surrender to God's will): It is the process of completely surrendering to god's will, whatever you think and do. Everything may be possible on the will of God, so one needs to surrender to God for extreme ecstasy. Helping the poor and the people in need include not only a sense of satisfaction but also a sense of surrender to the wishes of God.

Asana:

            The third step of Yoga is "Asana". In the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali there is a concise definition of Yoga that is "Sthiram Sukha Asanama", meaning of that position is comfortable and steady. It is difficult to say the number of total Asana.

It is said that in the ancient times they numbered 84,00,000 Asana. Just like number of living things upon this earth. Slowly the number came down to 84 only and right now the practice of 30 to 40 Asanas are believed to be more than enough to keep healthy, free of disease, free from stress, young and good looking. Asanas are easy exercise, which make people relaxed. The practice of Yogasana is quite easy method for leading a happy, healthy and stress less life. Asana controls the body and mind. Regular practice of Asana results in the purification of veins and nerves and promotion of general physical and mental health. The Asanas are of two types: one is related to mental health and the other is to physical health.

            The mind and body are not separate entities, although, there is a tendency to think and act as if the gross form of mind is the body and the subtle form of the body is the mind. The practice of Yogasana leads to the integration and harmony of both the body and mind.

Some Yoga Asanas

Asanas perform by Standing:

1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)                            2. Brikshyasana (Tree Pose)

3. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)                         4. Birasana (Brave Pose)

Asanas perform by sitting:                              

1. Mandukasana (Frog Pose)                               2. Janusirsasana (Head to knee Forward Bend Pose)

3. Sasankasana (Hare or Moon Pose)            4. Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) 

5. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)                                   6. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)  

7. Bajrasana (Thunder Bolt Pose)                   8. Padhmasana (Lotus Pose)

Asanas perform by slipping:

1.  Uttana padasana (Raised Leg Pose)        2. Salavasana (Locust Pose)

3. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)                          4. Pawanmuktasana (Gas Release Pose)

5. Naukasana (Boat Pose)                                   6. Halasana (Plow Pose)

7. Sirshan (Head Stand Pose)                           8. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Pranayama:

The meaning of word Pranayama' is expansion of Prana. Prana is the vital energy through the air. It extends by exercise of Prana  which is called Pranayama. It controls the normal breathing cycle. The aim of Pranayama is to inspire, infuse, control, regulate and balance physical and mental power in the body.

There are four aspects of Pranayama:

     1. Pooraka (Inhalation)

     2. Rechaka (Exhalation)

     3. Antar kumbhaka (Internal breath retention)

     4. Bahiya kumbhaka (External breath retention)

            These four techniques can be followed to practice every Pranayama. Pranayama creates concentration, calm, quiet and peaceful mind.

Pratyahara:

            Pratyahara means to keep the senses under control. It imparts the body health and enables to enter the super conscious state (Samadhi). Patanjali describes in his book "Yoga Sutra", Pratyahara enables us know/feel how our external senses come in close and direct contract with mind and intellect.

Dharana:

            Pratyahara controls mind and the senses. Once the mind is at peace, the successful concentration can, then, be possible on any object. Dharana means concentration on Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara.

Dhyana:

            Dhyana is a very effective tool for stress management. It is not only related to the control stress but also related to physical and mental health. Directly, it plays positive role for mental health and the process of Dhyana is almost related with physical and mental health.

            Dhyana is a kind of meditation with constant attention. Its role is to connect body and mind as a bridge.

Samadhi:

            Samadhi is the state of super consciousness and perfect mental solace. After the deep practice of Dharana and Dhyana one is able to go for Samadhi. When Dhyana achieves maturity, the mind loses the sense of duality with the object of concentration; ultimately leading to the state of Samadhi.




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