Ashatanga Yoga Explanation According To Vedic Yoga

Maharishi Patanjali, the Father of Yoga advocated the eight fold path ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ for all round development of human personality. These are the components of Raja Yoga, the royal path to union.

YAMAYama is most commonly translated as the rules of "social behaviour “or as the “ethical codes of life”. They are universal guidelines for engaging with others.

1.Ahimsa -
Manasaha wachaha karm anaha,Non-violence in speech, thought & action, not only to others but also to our own body, mind & soul. Ahimsa implies that by hurting others, you first hurt yourself, then hurt others. For example, to hit someone, you first lose your temper, thus hurting your own self- initially.Negative action towards others begin with negative thoughts in oneself.

2. Satya -
Truthfulness, Nothing is good or bad, it depends only on your outlook. Ones concept of good may be bad for the other. Just be sincere & true to yourself. You become impure due to your interaction with your environment. Your parents told you what is good & bad. So first you learned how to discriminate them. Even though your body or mind wished one, you learnt to quit them & to accept the opposite. There by you become untrue to your mind & your body. You learnt to act true.

Your parents taught you how to gain a big reputation in the society, & not how to live healthy. They want you to be like a king But they prevented you from sharing to the needy. You become happy in receiving things from others- ultimately making you a beggar.

Slowly, step by step you become far from what is you -for yourself to what is you-infront of others. And now, also you are in search of real you inside you.

Just relating the true facts as seen, heard or as they occurred, is not truth (satya). Truth means saying things for the benefit of all. Hence, even speaking a lie for righteous ends, for preserving the respect of elders, is truth (as usually thought of), that is righteousness or one that aims at harming others, is a lie.

3. Asteya -
Honesty, one should be honest in searching the path of enlightenment. Non- lustrous (asteya) means not to crave for the wealth of others or not to steal. Stealing will always make you to live in fear of getting caught one day.

4. Brahmacharya -
Celibacy, if followed transforms the energy of procreation into spiritual energy which helps to be with the divine. Awareness of sex without making it an obsession is brahmacarya. Sex is as normal as eating food or drinking water. Let it not become your driving force of life, unless you become unable to enjoy the natural beauty of nature. Celibacy means to be free of the desire of having sex in body, mind & speech, i.e., not performing sex physically & neither thinking nor talking about it.

5. Aparigraha -
Non-desiring for possessions, as one can distinguish between worldly & divine when he gets enlightened. It is normal to a human being to possess all that is possible. To collect or use, only those things which are extremely necessary for the near future to preserve the body is called APARIGRAHA. Accumulation of useless things or those more than necessity is called PARIGRAHA (Greediness). As a child you struggled for getting toys, in all the ages you struggled to possess everything that can make your life more & more comfortable. And the day you get what you want , you lost interest in what you struggled to possess. The one who possess the least is the happiest. Yama or rules of social behaviour stresses not only upon disturbing others with your thought & actions but even with your presence.

Niyamas are interpreted as the “rules of personal behaviour”. It should be evolved from individual practices.

1. Shoucha -
Purification is called shoucha. It is of two types- internal & external. Having a bath & cleaning the body is external purification. Making the mind & thoughts pure through gain of spiritual & true knowledge from the master is called internal purification. Purity of body, mind & soul is the key which open the doors of the path to reach Divine. It is performed by Shareerashuddhi, Manoshuddhi & Atmashuddhi in Vedic Yoga.

2. Santosha -
Contentment in every actions is got through regular practice of Vedic Yoga, as it improves ones efficiency in performing Karma. Wise man ‘s concept is that heaven & hell is in this world itself. They explain it as if you are happy in your world now, you are in heaven and if you are unhappy , you are in hell. To keep the intellect pure & happy by relinquishing desires & accepting whatever comes of its own accord is the way to perfect bliss. Contentment is the tool to happiness, it is the art of being in happiness with whatever one has. It does not prevent you from being ambitious, but stresses on the fact of thanking God for whatever he has bestowed.

3. Tapas -
Self-discipline burns away impurities, perfecting the body, mind & senses, so that consciousness functions freely & kindles the spark of Divinity. Tapas refers to condition the body with adverse situations, like upawasa(fasting for a day or two) , standing infront of the fire on a hot day, chanting a particular mantra the whole day. Yogis puts great emphasis on tapa as it brings out the latent powers of man. Medically it strengthens the immune system in the body & helps to remove toxins.

4. Svadhyaya -
Self-introspection leads towards the realization of god or communion with Divine. It comes under Manoshuddhi of Vedic yoga. This also includes reading of spiritual books.It helps in knowing ones own faults & working on them. An elementary way of doing this is to analyse all the activities you did during the day before going to sleep at night & resolve not to repeat the wrong ones the next day. Following this regimen daily will steadily make you a better human being. It is also an effective method for atmasuddhi.

5. Ishwara Pranidhana -
Surrender to God or Guru. It releases the bondages of earthly desires & nurtures him to the most intense forms of dhyana.It also comes under Manoshuddhi. In this practice we are accepting the one who has created all of us & surrender ourselves to Him. Surrender can be immensely joyful if a persons understands that everything happens according to His will. One should always do one’s best & leave the rest to Him.

Regular practice of niyamas in our life will help us to clean our body, mind & soul, thereby blessing us with complete health.

Physical postures which are comfortable & gives stability to the body. Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence & benevolence of spirit. Asana means seat, position, or stability. At a deeper level, it means the full expression of mind-body integration, in which you become consciously aware of the flow of energy in your body.

Performing asana with full awareness is practice for performing action in life with awareness. Acharya Krishnavarma have chosen asanas that enhance the flexibility of your joints, strengthen your muscles, improve your balance, and calms your mind. Each & every asanas helps us to cleanse & stimulate our seven chakras. When we combine flexibility, balance, strength and inner peace, we can get total freedom from all sufferings.

The difference between a living being and non-living being is the presence of prana or vital energy. When prana is flowing freely throughout your body and mind, you will feel healthy. When prana is blocked, fatigue and disease follows. Pranayama means mastering the life force. If our breathe stops, we die; & if we becoe constantly aware of it, we achieve enlightenment. There is an intimate relationship between breath and mind. When mind is centred and quiet, the breath also becomes so. When mind is in trouble, breathing becomes disordered. Pranayama is the powerful technique to control both breath & mind & there by helps to enhance neurorespiratory integration. Practice of pranayamas like nadisuddhi & bhastrika not only have physiological benefits but also mental & spiritual benefits. Some pranayama cools the body, while others increase the body temperature. This temperature changes, alters the endocrinal ( hormonal) secretion rate.

Svavisayasamprayoge cittasyasvarupanukarevaindriyanam pratyaharah. Prathyahara is the process of directing the senses inward to become unaware of the subtle elements of sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell. Acharya Krishnavarma encourages everyone to spend time withdrawing our senses from the world to hear our inner voice more clearly. Spending some time in silence before going to bed clears away all our impurities of our soul on that day.

Dharana is the mastery of attention and intention. According to Vedic yoga, your intentions have infinite organizing power. Simply by becoming clear about your intentions, you will begin to see them actualize in your life. There are many methods like concentrating on a single point, a lighted candle, or on the chakras of our body etc.

Dhyana is the development of witnessing awareness. It is the experience of knowing that you are in this world but not of this world. As you develop this skill of meditation, you are able to apply it in your daily life. You learn to stay centered and awake to all possibilities whenever a challenge arises. So that you are able to choose the best course of action that will maximize the fulfillment of your desires.

It is the state of Enlightenment. In this state of being settled in pure unbounded awareness, we can go beyond time and space, beyond past and future, beyond individuality and ultimately, reach your essential nature. You perform your actions in the world as a human being but your inner state will be of universal being.