Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga, also know as Raja Yoga, is the scientific method of enlightenment propounded by the ancient sage Patanjali. He was the first to systematize the practices of Ashtanga Yoga. It is the Yoga that Baba Hari Dass has practiced since childhood. Since his arrival in 1971, Baba Hari Dass has been active in training students and teachers of Yoga inthe United States and Canada. Through his compassionate example, young and old alike are learning the gentle art of peace. *

Because there has been much confusion over the past few years regarding the term Ashtanga, we wish to be clear we do not teach a contemporary method of asana that has come to be known as “Power Yoga” or “Ashtanga”. Though asana (seat, or posture) is but one limb of Ashtanga Yoga and Hatha Yoga, it is often identified as Yoga.

The second verse of Patanjali’s famous Yoga Sutras defines Yoga thus:

Yogash Chitta Vritti Nirodhaha (Yoga is the cessation of thoughtwaves in the mind.)
YOGA SUTRAS 1:2

Yoga literally means ‘union’. Through stilling the mind, union with our divine source is achieved.

Practices of Yoga (sadhana) purify the body and the mind for the purpose of developing concentration. Perfect concentration leads to a thoughtless mind and superconsciousness (samadhi). This higher consciousness brings knowledge of reality and peace.

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Patanjali describes this process as having eight parts or ‘limbs’; thus the system is called Ashtanga (ashta=eight, anga=limb) Yoga. The eight limbs are: yama (restraints), niyama (observances), asana (posture, seat), pranayama (control of prana, breath), pratyahara (withdrawing the mind from sense perception), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (superconsciousness).”

For more in-depth info about the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga click the link; The Ashtanga Yoga Institute

* Ashtanga Yoga Primer © Sri Rama Publishing, Santa Cruz, CA

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