Ashtanga Yoga & It’s Eight Fold Path To Enlightenment
Yoga is a great way to achieve well-being. By spending time with meditation and yoga at the comfort of your home, you can achieve a state of great livelihood. Everyone knows who is the father of Yoga. if not then he is Maharishi Patanjali, the father of Yogasutra. It was he who had given the yoga science a systematic shape. Maharishi Patanjali is the only one who has named Yoga Ashtanga Yoga or Raja Yoga.
In Ashtanga Yoga all eight kinds of yoga are included. The eight-fold path of Buddha is also part of this Ashtang Yoga. In fact, Ashtang Yoga of Yoga sutra is a second creation of the Buddha. In this sutra, the prime importance of Ashtang Yoga is mentioned.
A great sage Maharishi Patanjali has composed an accurate and authentic scripture of Yogadarshana in his time. To date, Yogadarshana is a very important scripture and authentic book to read. In this, the principle of Yogs is simply manifested in a clear scientific language. Thus, this book is very useful for the Yoga practitioner. If you want to experience the different forms of yoga and looking to make something out of these Yogs then, you must try Yoga Darshana. It is a great book for Yoga enthusiastic and practitioner who wants to shape life through Yoga.
Table of Content
What Is Ashtanga Yoga & Its Importance?
Ashtanga means “Eight Limbs”. This term was first used by a great ancient sage named Patanjali, an author of the Yoga Sutras. Ashtanga Yoga leads back to the 20th century when only a few people had been able to study Ashtanga yoga, including Krishnamacharya, Rama Mohan, Pattabhi jobs, and T.K.U Desikachar. It was Pattabhi who developed the main features of Ashtanga Yoga. However, it was based on Hatha Yoga. The main aim of Ashtanga Yoga is to promote harmony within and opening the eyes to a greater reality.
What is Best Ashtanga or Vinyasa Yoga?
Ashtang and Vinaya yoga are two different forms of yoga and both are unique and have their own benefits. The word Ashtang itself means (The eight limbs) which according to the ancient scripture are Yama, Niyama, Pranayama, Asana, Pratyahara, Dharana, and Samadhi.
The Vinaya means connecting the breathing system with every moment in the series. It is a kind of more modern style of Yoga that includes music, teacher-created sequences, and flow. The beauty of this practice is that it is creative and includes a variety that is both shown by the instructor and felt by the students.
Different between Ashtang And Vinyasa Yoga?
The major difference between the Ashtanga And Vinyasa yoga is that Vinaya is all about breathing and flowing that you can do for an occasional stress reliever. However, Ashtang yoga is eight-limb yoga. The eighth posture of yoga is all about living a kind of blissful life. If you want to live life with focus, peacefully, perfect breathing, then for you Ashtang Yoga is best. For you.
If you learn from an analogy then Ashtang is like a mathematics class, and Vinaya is like a drawing class. Both have their own unique importance in life. And it is you, what’s something that you want to change through Yoga.
Surprising Benefits Of Ashtanga Yoga:
Helps Develop Physical Strength: The core benefits of Ashtanga Yoga is that it helps build our muscles and fulfil all the physical needs. Practising Ashtanga Yoga on a regular basis rejuvenates your body, muscles and makes it more flexible and controlled.
Proves Good Cardio Workout: There is no other Yoga than Ashtang Yoga if you love doing cardio. It will help you get in shape, manage your weight and keep you fit all the time. When performing quickly, these moments can effectively increase your heart rate.
Improves Coordination: Ashtang Yoga is a powerful aid to tuning with your body. It will help improve focus, breathing, balance, and coordination. A quick set of moments instil a better sense of rhythm and flow in your body. Thus improve your coordination.
Benefits Emotionally And Mentally: This style of yoga also focuses on mental and emotional strength. The regular practice of Asana not only affects your muscles but also gives you the strength to control emotion and enable purification.
It will help you deal with stress and emotion-related problem easily and develop harmony between feeling and emotions. The equilibrium between your feeling and emotion make your body and organ to work efficiently.
Heals Mentally: Ashtang Yoga coordinates our body with the breath. This sort of meditation and constant focus on your breath help still your mind, relieve your stress. Therefore, you will be able to alter the pattern of your thought. Ashtang Yoga helps you centre your body and connect your body with your soul.
Guide To Do Ashtanga Yoga for Beginners In Brief:
Dynamic – you will feel like you’ve worked hard and it’s not unusual to sweat a lot!
Strength-building – many chaturangas and vinyasa, not to mention the daily repetition make it a very good way to build strength.
Challenging – Most Westerners are not used to doing many of the postures from the Primary Series, so in the beginning, you might think “I’ll NEVER be able to do that”. But it comes with time!
Tiring – The Primary Series takes almost 90 minutes to complete and so it can really be tiring to build up the endurance for such practice. However, by gradually sticking to the postures one by one, you’ll be able to do this sustainably.
Breath-focused – There is a saying “only lazy people can’t do Ashtanga Yoga”. It was referring to the fact that Ashtanga is, first and foremost, a breathing practice. So, as long as you’re breathing, you can practice! Rest will automatically include.
Meditative – Once you learn even a relatively short yoga sequence off-by-heart, you can get into “the zone” when you practice. You don’t need to listen to the cues from a teacher, you just flow in a rhythm with your breath.
Structured – The sequences can be adapted to individual needs, but roughly speaking everyone will practice the same set of postures every day until they have mastered it. You won’t get to decide which poses you learn – this has already been set for you in Ashtanga Yoga!
Hands-on Adjustments – Teachers will offer physical adjustments (or “assists”) throughout your practice. This is not always just to correct you; the adjustments can be very therapeutic and help you find space/length in the postures. I reckon this is one of the reasons students find they progress quite quickly in Ashtanga Yoga!
The Structure of the Primary Series is like:
5 sun salutation A and 3-5 sun salutation B
A set of standing postures – including forwarding folds, twists, and balances
A set of seated postures – including a lot of forwarding folding, hip opening, and twisting. And many of the signature Ashtanga “vinyasas” – jumping back and forward through a flow to keep the heart rate up and to build strength!
Finishing sequence – including a deep backbend, shoulder stands, and headstand
The Eight Fold Path To Attain Enlightenment In Ashtang Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga is literally meant Eight-Limbed-Yoga, period eight-steps to attain tranquillity of mind. The 8 limbs of ashtanga yoga are:
This yoga deals with the evolution of human beings. It starts with working on the external and internal life while living in society and creating a harmonious and peaceful society. There are five Yamas: Satya: (Truthfulness) Ahimsa: ( Non-Violence) Asteya ( Non-Stealing) Aparigraha (Going beyond the Greed) Brahmacharya (A Balanced sexual life) All these practices lead to a social mode of conduct.
Just like Yama, Niyama also deals with five modes of conduct. They are as follows:-
Saucha: CleaThe regular and personal hygiene, which also include mental.
Santosa: Satisfaction in things whatever you do.
Swadhaya: Self-Study, means have awareness of your own thoughts and feelings.
Iswara Pranidhana: Total Acceptance of Life, confronting all the situations of life with strength and equanimity.
According to Ashtang Yoga, the next step is Asana, which means posture. Asana is an essential step to reach towards the higher practices of Yoga. Asana can be meditative poses and other yoga postures that will lead you to attain the higher realm of spirituality.
Pranayama is the fourth stage of Ashtanga Yoga. It means a regulation of breath. Mind and Breath both are co-related. Thus, it is said that controlling over breath means having control over the mind.
Doing Pranayam on a regular basis helps control our breath and remove all the impurities from our body, and cleanse our Nadi. Nadi is a pranic pathway through which pranic or bioenergy flows. This will help your mind clear and give you access to the world’s reality.
Pratyahara is a method to withdraw from the outer world and focus inward. Pratyahara is the stage in which the mind apart itself from the material world and focuses only on searching for itself. It is that stage where the mind dives deeper in search of reality.
It is the sixth stage of Yoga. It is such a state where the mind absorbed itself.
The word used in the Yoga sutra is Samapatti or absorption. In this, if the mind absorbed in one object is called Dharana. And Dharana leads to Dhayana when keep doing it for a prolonged period of time.
The long period of Dharana can lead to Dhayana, which is the next stage of Ashtang Yoga. This is also named Meditation.
Eventually, Dhyana leads to the Samadhi. The last stage of Ashtang Yoga. It is the stage when our mind goes beyond thoughts and beliefs. In Yoga Sutra, there is a mention of a different kind of Samadhi. And one has to go through a different kind of samadhi if you want to attain the highest level of enlightenment.
Ashtanga Yoga is an extensive form of Yoga that comes with plenty of benefits. Regular practice of Ashtanga Yoga can lead to a happy and peaceful life.
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