Ashtanga Yoga: The Beginner’s Guide
We’re now delving a little bit into yoga, from meditation, because really, these two concepts are inseparable.
Yoga is a meditative practice that involves the mind and the body, dating back 5,000 from its origin in India. It is a discipline that allows you to wield the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of your being.
What Is Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga is an intermediate form of yoga that is a vinayasa-style technique (vinyasa being the transition form between asanas: click this link for an overview of the latter). It is not easy, folks, just a head’s up. But don’t be discouraged, like all difficult skills, they can be learned with constant practice.
The Eight-Fold Path In Ashtanga Yoga (eight limbs of yoga):
1. Yama or Social Restraints
Under this term are Ahimsa (nonviolence), Satva (to seek truth), Asteya (to not steal or covet), Brahmacharya (sexual restraint), and Aparigraha (to not be greedy or lustful).
2. Niyama or Disciplines
Here, you will find the following: Saucha (cleanliness), Samtosa (contentment), Tapas (discipline), Svadhyaya (study of enlightened texts), and Isvara Pranidhana (to be submitted to a higher power).
As mentioned above, you can have a quick glance at our more in-depth blog about this. In a nutshell, it refers to one’s posture when seated and ready for meditation.
In addition, we also have an intro blog to this. Pranayama talks about breathing techniques you can follow, to allow yourself to have clearer thoughts and emotions, and a calm spirit.
Here, you will withdraw your senses from the physical dimension of this world and learn how to direct your attention and focus only on yourself. Or more like, you will be taught to look at your inner being.
Concentration is a key concept we often fail to truly understand. Our minds, they tend to wander and Dharana will help bring out in you that level of focus where you can center your thoughts and attention to a single concept, thing, or point.
Meditation is an art and practice that should be done not only during a yoga session but as a way of life.
Some refer to this as Enlightenment (you can also find our take on this on our dashboard). It has been said that this marks the end of the journey and that once a person reaches Samadhi, he will be one with himself or herself and with the universe.
The Benefits Of Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga cleanses both the body and the mind and will teach you how the discipline the same as it will demand all of you once you put it to practice. This type of yoga builds your strength and flexibility. In addition, it will build your power from the core, out into your muscles and limbs. And at the end of every class or routine, you will sense in you a form of fulfillment and inner peace.