Lifestyle management through Raja Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga, part 1.

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We get to hear about yoga through various discussions all the time. What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Yoga’? Some twists, some stretches, some postures, some breathing patterns !

The answer is a thumping No ! ! Lifestyle management is something that the scriptures on Raja Yoga/Ashtanga teach us. It’s extremely relevant from the first thing you think/do/consume in the morning to the last thing you think/do/consume in the night before bed.

Of all the various kinds of yoga, the most practical and systematic way is known to be Raja Yoga, popularly known as Ashtanga Yoga, which is an 8-fold path for reaching the ultimate destination of Wellbeing or salvation. It is described by sage Patanjali in his Scripture, Yog Darshan in the form of Yog sutras.

Ashtanga yoga focuses on breath, movement, and drishti. The study advocated that these three magic ingredients combined brings mental focus and a connection with the body through which the practice becomes centred. Ashtanga Yoga focuses on the Macro as well as the micro aspects on human Mind, Body and soul.

Sage Patanjali very rightly says,

      तु दीर्घकाल नैरन्तर्य सत्कारादरासेवितो दृढभूमिः

Which means, ‘Practice that is done for a long time, without break and with sincere devotion becomes a firmly rooted, stable, and solid foundation.’

A consistent discipline is the base of Yoga. The real benefits of the practice are revealed when we dedicate ourselves to the practice long-term with consistency and discipline.

Sage Patanajali states 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga as follows:

यमनियमासनप्राणायामप्रत्याहारधारणाध्यानसमाधयोऽष्टावङ्गानि ||

  • Yama (Principles)
  • Niyama (Personal Disciplines)
  • Asana (Yoga Positions or Yogic Postures)
  • Pranayama (Yogic Breathing)
  • Pratyahara (Withdrawal of Senses)
  • Dharana (Concentration on Object)
  • Dhyan (Meditation)
  • Samadhi (Salvation).

In my ongong articles I’ll visit each one in detail starting with Yama (Principles) in this article today.

Yama are basically the principles or norms to be followed by humans in the society. They make the structuring of society uncomplicated and easy to run. Sage Patanjali very well understood the fact that the fabric of social wellbeing can be kept best maintained if every fabric i.e., every person follows some norms. He describes Yama as

अहिंसासत्यास्तेयब्रह्मचर्यापरिग्रहा यमाः॥

In simple language basic pillars of Yama are :

  1. Ahimsa or non-violence: It not only means non-killing of living beings but the deeper meaning implies not hurting anyone by words, actions and even thoughts.
  2. Satya-truthfulness: It implies being truthful to self and others through thoughts, actions, words and intentions.
  3. Aasteya-non-stealing: It implies not stealing anybody’s material or non-material possessions.
  4. Brahmacharya-continence: It implies abstaining physical desires and not supressing it. Brahmacharya practically means more about developing the capability of controlling physical desires instead of being controlled by them.
  5. Aparigraha-non-greed: It implies not greedily attaining things for self. It talks about developing a habit of giving or helping the less privileged ones with the things that we have in ample- be it opportunities or resources.

With the Yamas being in place a follower can move ahead to the next 7 limbs of Ashtanga yoga.

We will be studying every Limb in detail with its practicality in today’s world in our following articles.

For any queries or help on the same, reach out to me on sahna@pravaahwellness.com or visit us at www.pravaahwellness.com & leave a message here PRAVAAH.

6 Comments

  1. pranav says:

    Very well explained and insights provided on aspects of yoga which people aren’t aware of. Great work . Wish u all the best for spreading this beacon of knowledge into society.

  2. Somnath Gharge says:

    Excellent article.
    You have beautifully explained the essence of ashtang yoga. It’s really way of life. Thanks so much.

  3. Vikram Bhatt says:

    Very good article!

  4. […] Ashtanga Yoga definitely helps in cleansing these impurities in humans. (Click here to read our article on Ashtanga […]

  5. […] We saw the first limb of Ashtanga Yoga, i.e Yamas-the principles in our previous article “Lifestyle management through Raja Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga, part 1.” […]

  6. sahana says:

    Knowing about the values in life and way to proceed on the right path is what I find the soul of your article. The way, you simplify the subject is commendable. I have no doubt that you will keep satisfying the growing expectations of the readers. Wish you all the best……

    -Sham Vaidya

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