Ashtanga Yoga

The great Indian philosopher Patanjali Maharshi describes yoga in his Yoga Sutra (Circa AD 300 – 400) as “chitta vritti nirodha” - cessation of the fluctuation of mind. In general terms, yoga can be understood as certain physical exercises that help one stay in the domain of physical and mental health.

Let us have a look at the main aspects of the science as postulated by Patanjali. According to him, a practitioner has to pass through eight stages before reaching the final state of superconsciousness, which is the unitive experience of yoga. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and finally Samadhi are the eight stages through which the yogi traverses to become one with the Universal Spirit.

Asanas form the third limb of the Ashtangayoga - the octapartite yoga. Patanjali, the great philosopher of India defines asana thus: “Sthira sukham asanam” i.e. asana is a steady and comfortable posture.

Such a posture gives rise to mental equilibrium. There are hundreds of such postures a human body could assume. Over the centuries, it has been proved that they exercise every muscle, nerve and gland in the body. The regular practice of asanas eliminates diseases as well as ensures the maintenance of a healthy body.