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ASHTANGA YOGA

ashta = eight / anga = limb / yoga = unity

Because That is subtle, invisible and immaterial, the sages have spoken of its accessible form, and it is by progressive degrees that this form will be

 

- Avhadûta Gîtâ ll.15

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Although the word yoga can have many meanings, we'll call it change, because now something will finally change, something we're not used to, and the conviction that life holds an immense mystery, but that it's possible to access it with simplicity of mind. Through openness to what is. Pure existence, eternal and universal, yoga reaches the human heart, whether we see it or not. Ashtanga Yoga has its origins in the Sanskrit texts expounded by the sage Patanjali, who was the first to systematize the path of classical yoga. These are the stages that structure the logical progression through which the practitioner passes before reaching the state of yoga. The first five limbs (external support) are the foundations of the last 3 (internal practice).The first two limbs, YAMA & NIYAMA, are crucial, and are often the most neglected. Without them, the practice is meaningless, and doesn't allow for the process that yoga is supposed to bring about - an upward inner transformation.

1 - YAMA 

Inner purification (awareness of conditioning)

Ahimsa

Awareness of our violent thoughts

Satya

Truthfulness, sincere self-examination

Asteya

Awareness of the desire to possess

Brahmacharya

Awareness of life energy

Aparigraha

Awareness of mental concepts

2 - NIYAMA

external purification (awareness of action)

Shaucha

action without personal gain

Santosha

satisfaction through acceptance of what is

Tapah

determination to seek the source of consciousness

Svadhyaya

seeking association with truth

Isvara pranidana

surrender to the divine (love)

3 - ASANA

Physical purification (body awareness)

4 - PRANAYAMA

Subtle purification (developing breath awareness)

5 - PRATYAHARA

Sense withdrawal (conscious use of the 5 senses)

6 - DHARANA

Discernment

7 - DHYANA

State of being (meditation)

8 - SAMADHI

State of unity, totality, liberation (pure consciousness)

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