Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga
The Astanga Yoga literally means "Eight-limbed yoga" in Sanskrit. The eight limbs are yama (moral codes), niyama (self purification), asana (physical postures), pranayama (control of life force), prathyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (state of absorption).
Author Doing Dhyana
Astanga Yoga was outlined by the great Indian sage Pathanjali, in his famous text "Yoga Sutras". There is a general perception that yoga is a set of physical exercises. It is much more than a workout program. If practiced regularly, Astanga Yoga adds immense value to your body, mind and soul.
Regular practice of Astanga Yoga brings in mental balance. A yoga abhyasi (person who practices yoga) is less likely to be susceptible to emotional upheavals. He/she is less likely to succumb to hatred and jealousy. Astanga Yoga ensures optimum utilization of the mind. This results in increase in the ability to concentrate. People who practice yoga are less likely to be affected by stress, depression and anxiety.
Astanga Yoga increases the ability to cope with difficult situations in life. It helps you in handling situations calmly, without succumbing to rage. In the Bhagavad Gita, a holy text of Hinduism, Lord Krishna says, "Yogah karmasu kaushalam". This means "Yoga is skill in action". Regular practice of yoga makes you more skillful in what ever you may be doing. It also improves your creativity.
Regular practice of various asanas (physical postures) ensures good physical health and general well being. It strengthens the muscles, bones and the nervous system. It is ideal for toning and strengthening the body, while remaining lean. It prevents many diseases by strengthening the immune system. It is very effective in preventing obesity.
Asanas strengthen the cardiovascular system. It improves digestion and regulates hormone production. It helps maintain healthy metabolism. It enhances flexibility and improves stamina. Yoga teaches you to breathe properly. This results in increase in the amount of oxygen to the body and in removal of toxins from the body.
Dhyana, if practiced properly, can improve your understanding of your position in the overall scheme of things in this universe. Yoga can cause great harm if practiced without the help of a qualified teacher (usually called a guru). It is not advisable to practice yoga by reading a book or by viewing a DVD.
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Astanga Yoga improves your health and helps you take control of your life. It brings joy, strength, purity, patience and bliss into your existence.
- The eight limbs of Astanga Yoga are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, prathyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.
- Astanga Yoga was outlined by Pathanjali.
- Yoga is much more than physical exercises.
- Astanga Yoga helps your body, mind and soul.
- Astanga Yoga enhances your ability to cope with difficult situations in life.
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Whether you designate the principles of human evolution as yoga in Sanskrit, or by their equivalent term in English or Farsi or Hebrew, the experience of the finer spiritual states generated in yogic practice bear resemblance for and benefit all humanity.— Daaji
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