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Ashtanga Yoga: The 8 fold path of Yoga [Explained]

Ashtanga Yoga: The 8 fold path of Yoga [Explained]

What is Ashtanga Yoga and its 8 Fold Path of Yoga? Ashtanga Yoga is a lifestyle and it includes 8 parts that form the 8 fold path of Yoga. In this article you will learn what these 8 parts are.

Ashtanga Yoga stems from the Yoga Sutras

In 650 AD an Indian sage named Patanjali wrote the little book ‘The Yoga Sutras’ in which he describes how to ascend into’ space ‘/’ emptiness / ‘enlightenment’. In this article you will find a very brief summary of his 8 fold path of Yoga, which is Ashtanga Yoga. In this article we use the word ‘space’, which can be exchanged for ’emptiness’ or ‘enlightenment’.

Patanjali said, ‘Yoga is the cessation of mental activity, mind restlessness and suffering, and is accomplished through the following 8 components that form the 8 fold path of Yoga:

Ashtanga Yoga: these are the 8 parts of the 8 fold path of Yoga

1. Yama

ashtanga yoga 8 fold path 1

Yama: When you want to enter space, you would probably want to stop doing other things like: no violence, lies, stealing, greed and energy wastage.

2. Niyama

ashtanga yoga 8 fold path 1

Niyama: In addition, there are a number of things you want to do to prepare yourself for interruptions from outside or inside. That could be: keeping your body and mind clean, being satisfied with what you have, self-reflection

3. Asanam

ashtanga yoga 8 fold path

Asanam: After that you would probably want to be comfortable because if you entered the space while standing you could have toppled over. The asanam are all Yoga postures. These postures release a certain energy in your body. They are meant to connect body, mind, breath, heart and soul.

4. Pranayam

ashtanga yoga 8 fold path

Pranayam: You would like to do a breathing technique to calm the mind, but know that when you enter space, the breathing will stop anyway.

5. Pratyahara

ashtanga yoga 8 fold path

Pratyahara: Now turn the senses, which are normally outward, inward to discover yourself.

6. Dharana

ashtanga yoga 8 fold path

Dharana: focus on something within, an object, and put all your attention on it. This could be your breath or a mantra, for example. Attention is focused, but soft, friendly and without hard concentration.

7. Dhyana

ashtanga yoga 8 fold path

Dhyana: As you focus totally on the object of your attention, you notice that consciousness begins to expand outward. Let it go out as far as it will go. You are in a meditative state of the here and now, focused and thoughtless.

8. Samadhi

ashtanga yoga 8 fold path

Samadhi: Once consciousness has expanded to infinity, you are in space (this was the “goal”). You are connected to everything. There is a moment of tension, or no thoughts and no object of consciousness: it is as if you are consciousness itself , without knowing it.

Extra parts of Ashtanga Yoga

In addition, there are three other parts, called ‘Sanyama’, and they mean that you take something with you into space. Finally, there is another place that is the deepest level of the mind, just before Samadhi. This place is called: ‘Rityam Bhara Pragyam’. That place only knows the truth.

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!

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