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Let's Breath Together

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The beginnings of Ashtanga*

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is an ancient Yoga system taught by Vamana Rishi in Yoga Korunta . This text was transmitted orally to Shri T. Krishnamacharya's guru, Rama Mohan Brahmachari, in the early 1900s, and was later bequeathed to Pattabhi Jois during his apprenticeship with Krishnamacharya, which began in 1927. The text described the main yoga postures, from basic to more advanced, as well as their breathing.

Ashtanga Yoga, as described by the sage Patanjali, consists of eight limbs:

  • Yama: moral rules

  • Niyama: self-observation

  • Asana: posture

  • Pranayama: breathing techniques

  • Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses

  • Dharana: concentration

  • Dhyana: meditation

  • Samadhi: state of bliss and peace


" Yama includes non-violence or ahimsa, philanthropy or satya, non-theft or asteya, control of sensual pleasure or brahmacharya and non-greed or aparigraha. "

  • Ahimsa is more than just violence. In any case, we must adopt a prudent attitude. This means not harming anyone, including animals, in any form, at any time or for any reason with words, thoughts or deeds.

  • Satya  means to tell the truth. Tell the truth that is pleasant. Do not tell the unpleasant truth, do not lie, even if the lies are pleasant to hear. If one follows the truth in this way, all his words will come true and all his wishes will be fulfilled.

  • Asteya is the opposite of stealing; not taking something that does not belong to us. This includes not stealing the acquisitions and property of others. Jealousy and revenge against the other, cheating on someone with sweet words, gaining selfish expediencies under the guise of honesty; everything must be abandoned.

  • Brahmacharya suggests that we need to form relationships that encourage the understanding of higher truths. It does not necessarily imply sexual abstinence. But rather, it means responsible behavior with respect for our goal or our path to the truth.

  • Aparigraha means to take only what is necessary and not to take advantage of any situation.


" Niyama, compared to yama, are more intimate and personal. They refer to the attitude we adopt towards ourselves. Niyama is shaucha or purity, santosha or modesty and satisfaction, tapas or the desire to keep the body in shape, swadhyaya or self-study, ishwarapranidhana or surrender to God. "

  • Shaucha has both internal and external dimensions. External purity simply means keeping ourselves clean. Internal purity refers both to the healthy, unhindered functioning of vital organs and to the clarity of our mind. The practice of asanas or pranayama is an essential means of caring for this inner shaucha.

  • Santosha is satisfaction due to keeping the mind focused in one direction, always feeling joy and never feeling sad for any reason. It also means accepting what is happening. It is about ourselves, about what we have and how we feel about what we have been given.

  • Tapas literally means "to warm the body" and thus cleanse. Behind the concept of tapas is the idea that we can get rid of impurities in our body.

  • Swadhyaya is the study of the Self from the surface of the skin of the body to the core of existence. Therefore, it means to approach yourself, to study yourself.

  • Ishwarapranidhana means to do all our actions, overt or covert, without wanting their fruits. Let it be enough to know that we did our best. We can leave the rest to a higher power.


" Asana means posture, which is the art of placing the whole body in a physical, mental and spiritual posture. The posture is re-examined and adjusted so that the various limbs and parts of the body are placed in the correct order and feel relaxed and normalized, while at the same time the mind experiences calm and relaxation of bones, joints, muscles, fibers and cells. If asana is practiced according to established rules, then diseases related to the body and sensory organs can be prevented. "


" Pranayama is the practice of various breathing techniques. Prana is energy and ayama is the creation, distribution and maintenance. Pranayama is the science of respiration, which leads to the creation, distribution and maintenance of vital energy. Only by bringing it body, breath and mind in union we realize the true quality of an asana. The first step of our yoga practice is to consciously connect the breath and the body. In pranayama we focus our attention on the breath. The essential goal of the various breathing techniques in pranayama is, first and foremost, to give us many different possibilities to follow the breath. When we follow the breath, the mind will be united with the activities of the breath. In this way, the pranayama prepares us for stillness in meditation. "


" Pratyahara usually translates as withdrawal of the senses. The word ahara means nourishment. Pratyahara translates as "withdrawal of one who nourishes the senses" , when the muscles and joints rest in place, the body, the senses and the mind lose their identity and the consciousness radiates in its purity. "


" Dharana is concentration or full attention. Therefore, it is the state in which the mind focuses and concentrates exclusively on one point. The point can be anything, but it is always a single object. "


" In dhyana, one relates to a particular object and a bond is created between oneself and the object. In other words, you perceive a particular object and at the same time consciously communicate with it. Dharana must precede dhyana because the mind needs to be focused in a specific object before a connection is made. Where dhyana occurs, there must be asana, where asana occurs, there must be dhyana. "


" Samadhi means to bring together, to unite. Sama means balance or harmony. When the soul, which is the cause of existence, diffuses and harmonizes everywhere, this is samadhi. A state of bliss and peace. "

* The above texts come from excerpts from the following books:

  • Shri B.K.S. Iyengar, "The Art of Yoga"

  • T.K.V. Desikachar, "The heart of Yoga"

  • Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, "Yoga Mala"

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