The Way of 8-Limbs Unity
ashta = eight | anga = branch | yoga = unit
YAMA - The set of ethical principles;
NIYAMA - Personal observances;
ASANA - Physical purification (body awareness);
PRANAYAMA - The subtle purification (awareness of prana);
PRATYAHARA - The conscious use of the 5 senses;
DHARANA - Discernment (concentration);
DHYANA - State of being (meditation);
SAMADHI - State of unity, totality, liberation (pure consciousness);
Ashtanga finds its origins in the Sanskrit texts, exposed by the sage Patanjali, who was the first to systematize the path of classical yoga.
These are the stages which structure the logical progression through which the practitioner goes before reaching the state of Yoga.
They are all related to each other, and can be practiced simultaneously.
The first five branches (the external support) are the foundations of the last 3 (the internal practice).
The first two branches are crucial, and are often the most neglected. Without it, the practice has no meaning and swells the ego of the practitioner, in a downward movement in matter.
AHIMSA - nonviolent thoughts
SATYA - truthfulness, sincere self-examination
ASTEYA - not owning more than necessary
BRAHMACHARYA - awareness of sexual energy
APARIGRAHA - detachment from mental concepts
SHAUCHA - action without personal profit
SANTOSHA - the acceptance of what is
TAPAH - be determined to find the source
SVADHYAYA - the study of sacred texts
ISVARA PRANIDANA - surrender to the divine (love)