Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient system of Yoga that has many unique qualities which can lead to a transformative experience. The system traces its lineage to Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta. This text 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 means “eight limbed yoga,” these eight limbs can be described as eight disciplines. These limbs are defined in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and comprise the foundation of Ashtanga Yoga Philosophy.
- Yama: Moral Principles
- Niyama: Self-discipline
- Asana: Physical Postures
- Pranayama: Breath Control
- Pratyahara: Sensory withdrawal
- Dharana: Concentration / Internally
- Dhyana: Meditation, uninterrupted flow of concentration
- Samadhi: Connection to the Divine
Of these eight limbs, the most familiar is asana – yoga postures. It is important for us to practice, because it is the most accessible of the eight limbs to begin with, and through it we can understand the other limbs.