Yoga is a mind and body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy and Hindu discipline. Yoga is a systematic process of bringing the Body, Mind and Consciousness to the reality so you may discover and outshine the true nature of yourself, in other words to move someone towards peace of mind and spiritual enlightenment.
EIGHT LIMBS OF YOGA:
The word Ashtanga in the Ashtanga yoga is a combination of two words, “Ashta” which means eight and “Anga” which means parts or limbs. Ashatanga yoga, therefore consists of eight limbs:
Yama: Yama or the first limb is based on forming the character of the person. It focuses on building the personality and a stronger character in a person. Qualities like persistence and patience, honesty and integrity are taught in this branch. A total of five qualities have to be developed in order to clear the stage of Yama.
These qualities are Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, and Aparigraha.
Niyama: Niyama signify the ethics or the rules of conduct. By integrating a rock solid foundation of Yama, one is able to follow all the rules that are listed very easily. The basic set of rules are Shauch, Santosh, Tapas, Swadhyaya, and Ishwar Pranidhan.
Asana: Asanas mean the body postures. Asanas are the way of body movements which are practiced to develop the strength and stamina of the body. Asanas also prevent diseases, delay the process of ageing, make a person healthy and increase flexibility.
Pranayama: Pranayama are the breathing exercises that are practiced to achieve a control on the body and mind. By controlling the process of breathing, a significant control is achieved on the body and the mind.
Pratyahara: Pratyahara is for withdrawing the mind from the different senses. This is reaching a very high level of spiritual and mental development wherein the person is no longer attracted to any material temptations.
Dharana: Dharana is the strong resolution to realize a single objective by creating perfect thoughts. A person is eligible for reaching and succeeding in this stage only when he has successfully achieved a complete balance of the mind by passing through the former limbs of Ashtanga yoga. It is believed that the attraction power becomes so powerful in the dharna stage that almost anything a person desires starts to flow effortlessly towards the person. This is exactly the force required to achieve the human life at its best potential.
Dhayna: Dhyana means meditating and slowly drifting towards and reaching a higher consciousness.
Samadhi: Samadhi is derived from the word “Samadhan” which means a solution or an answer. Samadhi is the final stage where the being actually becomes capable of merging with the divine or God. After reaching Samadhi, a person becomes free from the infinite cycle of birth and death.