Ashtanga Yoga – NOTE

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Ashtanga Yoga (eight limbs of yoga, Raja Yoga) is the classical Indian system of philosophy and practice (composed by Patanjali perhaps ca. 200 BCE) consisting of these eight behavior precepts:

  • Yama (see below)
  • niyama – Commitments to practice, such as study and devotion
  • asana – integration of mind and body through physical activity
  • pranayama – integration of mind and body through breathing
  • pratyahra – withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects
  • dharana – one-pointedness of mind
  • dhyana – meditation (quiet activity that leads to samadhi)
  • samadhi – the quiet state of blissful awareness

Practice of these precepts is said to result in a state in which one’s behavior spontaneously follows the five ethical precepts (Yamas):

  • Ahimsa – refraining from injury (non-life supporting action)
  • satya – truthfulness
  • asteya – freedom from stealing
  • bramacharya – living within the Self (moderation; abstinence)
  • aparigraha – freedom from attachment to possessions

See Also