Yoga is a system of Yoga that was taught by the sage Vaman Rishi in
the Yoga Korunta, which is an ancient manuscript "said to contain
lists of many different groupings of asanas, as well as highly original
teachings on Vinyasa, Drishti, Bandhas, Mudras and Philosophy
Astanga Yoga literally means the "eight-limbed yoga," as outlined
by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.
to Patanjali, the path of internal purification for revealing the Universal
Self consists of the following eight spiritual practices :
Yamas (Principles or moral code) :-
Yama means restraints There are five yamas viz. Ahimsa, Satya,
Asteya, Brahmacharaya and Aparigraha.
Ahinsa (non-violence) is the foundation upon which the rest of the Yamas
and Niyamas are based. One must have Ahinsa in one`s thoughts, speech
Truth must always co-relate with the facts as they are. Truth that causes
pain or injury is not positive. Truth should be spoken in harmony with
One must not take away from another. It would deprive others from the
fruits of their work or from what is rightfully theirs. Thus stealing
cause injury as well.
Brahmacharya : Control of sex organs / instincts increases one`s energy.
From this energy one can gain miraculous powers, or more important -
can gain knowledge.
Non - covetousness is the lack of desire to possess not only material
objects, but persons, places, feelings and so forth. The One who has
no interest or desire to possess the past, present or future, will find
knowledge of these three : time states coming to him naturally.
Niyamas (Self-Purification and study) :-
Niyam means observances. There are five niayamas viz. Saucha, Santosh,
Tapa, Swa - adhyay and Ishwar Pranidhan
Physical and mental cleanliness.
Contentment with what one has.
By fortitude the removal of impurities and mastering of the body and
the senses follow.
Through self study, communication can be established with the desired
" Our intelligence is no match to the divine wisdom". Keeping
this in mind always, one should surrender to the will of God with complete
faith after having done one`s duties very well.
3. Asana :-
Postures / positions) Asana means postures. A stable and comfortable
posture which helps attain mental equilibrium.
4. Pranayam :-
means control of bio-energy.Prana is the vital energy which influences
the functioning of each cell in the body. Control of Prana is control
of mind. Vibrations of prana produce thoughts in the mind and it is
Prana that moves the mind. With Pranayam, we understand and control
our bio energy : the life giving force.
5. Pratyahar :-
means abstraction of senses.The senses follow the mind as the bees follow
the queen bee : they imitate the mind. Mind is steadied with Pranayams
and with practise of Pranayams, one is also able to observe : Pratyahar
: abstraction or withdrawal of senses from their objects.
6. Dharna :-
refers to concentration. The charachteristics of Dharna are :
a. Placing the mind on an object for a long duration.
b. Gaining one pointedness.
c. Keeping the mind in a limited area.
longer periods of sustained concentraion the mind undergoes a change,
it relaxes, overcomes distractions and may poosibly help to prevent
mental diseases yet to come. The mind then becomes serene and joyful.
7. Dhyana :-
is meditation. In Dhyana the mind does not waver from what is started
in Dharna. The central aspect in Dhyanaa is the mind itself - its nature,
its reaction, its steadiness or lack of steadiness. When an individual
is relaxed and introspective, he understands the mind`s defects. In
Dhyana we see a thing from many angles and see it in its wholeness.
Meditation should be of a long duration and it should be brought under
8. Samadhi :-
is the state of trance consciousness. Bhikshu describes Samadhi as the
absense of mind when concentrating on an object. In Samadhi the awareness
of thinking ceases. In Samadhi - The whole effort is in realization,
everything is revealed.
is an indescribable experience, if one analyses the experience while
going through it, he loses it. It s an intensely positive experience,
however, it cannot be intellectually explained.