Yoga offers a controlled battleground for the process of evolution in our own internal environment. Yoga can unveil your innermost potential. Just as the caterpillar experiences’ a life changing metamorphosis following a period of hibernation, so does the yoga student. Through dedication and a steady rhythmical practice you can uncover a beautiful transformation on all levels: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually – you become the butterfly.
According to Patanjali, who is said to have lived approximately 2000 years ago and who wrote the Yoga Sutras ( an authoritative treatise on yoga ), there are Eight Limbs’ or guidelines of yoga. The term Ashtanga Yoga means Eight Limbed Yoga.
Sutra II.29 Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhayah astau angani.
Restraints, observances, posture, control of inner breath, sense withdrawal, concentration, meditation, Divine Bliss are the Eight Limbs.
The Eight Limbs ensure that one will not become distorted and ungrounded by the Yoga practice.
Sutra II.28 Yogaanga aunusthanat asuddhiksaye jnana diptih aviveka khyateh.
By practicing the limbs of yoga the impurities are removed, uncovering the light of knowledge and discernment.
The systematic flow of postures ( asana ), breath ( ujjayi pranayama ) and gaze points ( drishti ) assist with sense withdrawal ( pratyahara ) and concentration ( dharana ) , leading the practitioner to a meditation ( dhyana )in motion. Through this practice, the practitioner develops a better understanding of themselves and others leading to kindness and truth ( yamas’ and niyamas’ ).
With maintained integrity, dedication, devotion, courage and intelligence, the yoga journey will be challenging, yet incredibly rewarding.