Hinduism::What is Ashtanga Yoga and it parts - Yama, Niyama, Prayanama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyan and Samadhi?


8 Answers

  • hema d
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Yoga means union. Yoga aims to bring this union through the integration of various components of the body and mind into one harmonious whole and in the next stage through the union of the individual self with the Higher Self. Yoga unites a disorganized body and mind into one performing whole leading to the opening of energy channels and flowering of his consciousness.

    This union is achieved through the eight limbs of Yoga called ashtanga yoga. These eight steps are : yama (absentations), niyama (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (control of breath), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) , dharana (concentration of mind), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (transcendental state).

    Yama consists of observation of five rules: ahimsa (non violence), satya (truth), asteya (non stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy) and aparigraha (disowning of possessions).

    Niyama also consists of observation of five rules: saucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (austeirty), svadhyaya (self study) and isvara-pranidhana (divine worship).

    Asana consists of practicing different yogic postures for disciplining the body and making it as a fit instrument of the divine.

    Pranayama is about breath control. The in breathing is called Puraka, the out breathing is called rechaka and the stopping of breathing is called kumbhaka. In yoga the practitioner consciously practices the breathing in and breathing out in different patterns, till he achieves complete mastery over his breathing is able to do kumbhaka for prolonged periods of time. In India there are people who can bury themselves underground for months without any oxygen supply and still remain alive. They are able to do this because of their complete mastery of pranayama.

    Pratyahara means withdrawal of the senses from their sense objects through a process of detachment and turning the attention inward into oneself. This is to prepare the mind for the next three steps, which are together called samyama.

    Dharana is fixing the mind on a specific point or object for a prolonged period of time. The mind is by nature fickle. It need to be controlled for meaningful spiritual life. By means of dharana we hold the mind to a particular stream of thought and learn to control its movements. This is a very important step in yoga, because control of mind is essential for further progress on the path.

    Dhayna is to be able to direct the flow of thought to a specific subject without getting distracted. Samadhi is the transcendental state achieved at the end of all yogic practices. There are different levels of Samadhi, depending upon the degree of duality or awareness of duality experienced.

    It is believed that successful practice of yoga results in gaining supernormal powers called siddhis. But we are strongly advised not to fall into their trap. Siddhis are powerful forces of prakriti and they are very much a part of the grand arsenal of illusion. They actually lead one to greater illusion and cause ones downfall from the heights of spiritualism. The aspirants are therefore advised not to display their siddhis and not to use them for their selfish purposes.

  • 1 decade ago

    Astanga yoga is yuj union f the individual soul with Spirit and the techniques by which this goal is attained.

    Saint Patanjali has given eight steps and they are

    yama=moral conduct

    2. niyama=religious observances

    3 asana= right posture to still the restless body

    4 pranayama=control of prana(lifetrons)

    5 prathyahara=interiorization

    6 dharana=concentration

    7 dhyana=meditation

    8 samadhi=superconscious experience

  • 4 years ago

    Some people are interested only in sweets and not sour. Some take sour so that they can take more sweets. Yoga also is taken like a gymnastic performance and not as a part of 'sanyas'. But, a sanyasin should practice yama and niyama as most important than anything. Yama and Niyama are not a part of a 'Yoga' but part of the life-style for day-to-day life as per the advice of our forefathers.

  • norbor
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Ashtanga Yoga may refer to:

    * Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a system of yoga developed by Pattabhi Jois

    * Raja Yoga or Aṣṭānga Yoga, a modern yoga system outlined by Patanjali

    Ashtanga yoga is a system of yoga recorded by the sage Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta, an ancient manuscript "said to contain lists of many different groupings of asanas, as well as highly original teachings on vinyasa, drishti, bandhas, mudras, and philosophy" (Jois 2002 xv). The text of the Yoga Korunta "was imparted to Sri T. Krishnamacharya in the early 1900's by his Guru Rama Mohan Brahmachari, and was later passed down to Pattabhi Jois during the duration of his studies with Krishnamacharya, beginning in 1927" ("Ashtanga Yoga"). Since 1948, Pattabhi Jois has been teaching Ashtanga yoga from his yoga shala, the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute (Jois 2002 xvi), according to the sacred tradition of Guru Parampara [disciplic succession] (Jois 2003 12).

    Ashtanga yoga literally means "eight-limbed yoga," as outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. According to Patanjali, the path of internal purification for revealing the Universal Self consists of the following eight spiritual practices:

    Yama [moral codes]

    Niyama [self-purification and study]

    Asana [posture]

    Pranayama [breath control]

    Pratyahara [sense control]

    Dharana [concentration]

    Dhyana [meditation]

    Samadhi [contemplation] (Scott 14-17)

    The first four limbs—yama, niyama, asana, pranayama—are considered external cleansing practices. According to Pattabhi Jois, defects in the external practices are correctable. However, defects in the internal cleansing practices—pratyahara, dharana, dhyana—are not correctable and can be dangerous to the mind unless the correct Ashtanga yoga method is followed (Stern and Summerbell 35). For this reason, Pattabhi Jois emphasizes that the "Ashtanga Yoga method is Patanjali Yoga" (Flynn).

    For more details check the following website:


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  • 1 decade ago

    All the above answers are correct. Now let me tell you about the benefit of Yoga. Ashtanga Yoga can give us health and long life. But it is difficult to practice. Breath control is a torture to ourselves. So some yogis advise to practice Rajayoga by sitting suhasana, concentrate in the middle of eyebrows, and avoiding thoughts. This will give all the benefits of Ashtanga Yoga but have no side effects.

  • 1 decade ago

    I will give interesting answer from a american professor, Richard Rosser.

    What does "Ashtanga" mean?

    —Rena Grant, Seattle

    Richard Rosen's reply:

    The term "ashtanga" comes from the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, where it refers to classical yoga's eight (ashta)-limb (anga) practice. (Some yoga scholars such as Georg Feuerstein maintain that Patanjali's real contribution to yoga was kriya yoga, the "yoga of ritual action," and that the eight-limb practice was borrowed from another source.) The eight limbs are restraint, observance, posture, breath control, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditative absorption, and "enstasy." This last word, which means "standing inside of," is Mircea Eliade's translation of samadhi, which literally means to "put together" or "bring into harmony." In samadhi, we "stand inside of" our true Self in preparation for the ultimate state of classical yoga, the eternal "aloneness" (kaivalya) of that Self in the purity and joy of its being.

    While Patanjali's underlying dualism between Self and nature has long been out of favor, his eight-limb method still influences many modern schools of yoga. One of those schools is the currently popular Ashtanga Yoga developed by K. Pattabhi Jois from the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya (father of T.K.V. Desikachar, brother-in-law of B.K.S. Iyengar, and mentor to both).

    Since I'm not an authority on this practice, I asked Ashtanga teacher Richard Freeman to explain. He replied that the Krishnamacharya-Pattabhi Jois system is indeed modeled on the eight limbs of Patanjali; the emphasis, however, is on the correct performance of the third limb (posture) as a means of realizing all the limbs, including, of course, samadhi. Since we in the West sometimes focus exclusively on posture and overlook the other limbs, Richard believes that Pattabhi Jois calls his system "Ashtanga" in part "to encourage his students to look into the whole practice more deeply" and integrate all the limbs.

    Richard Rosen, who teaches in Oakland and Berkeley, California, has been writing for Yoga Journal since the 1970s.

    Great! We soon will learn Hinduism from foreigners and till then find who is great swami vivekananda or Shri la Prabhupad? a questins by some troll defaming hinduism.

    Kalay Tasmai namaha.

    Jai Shree Ram!!!!!

  • Shiv
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Very good and Intelligent Questions are coming from you, dear.

    Please accept my Appreciation.

    Answer :

    You missed one - Aasan.

    the 8 ANG's of ASHTANG YOG are :

    Yam, Niyam, Aasan, Pranayam,

    Pratyaahaar, Dhaarana, Dhyan, & Samadhi.

    The main objective remains here is : to make JAGRUT one's KUNDALINI SHAKTI, which remains sleeping in MULADHAR CHAKRA, and to raise it to the SAHASRAR CHAKRA (BRAHMA RANDHRA) through SUSHUMNA NADI.

    This raises the upper and higher energies of a person and opens the door towards the PARAMATMA.

    Aum Namah Shivay

  • 1 decade ago

    There are eight steps to attain enlightenment and you can get each and every detail in my site http://www.amityoga.org .

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