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About Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga – Eight Limbs
Yoga is an ancient system for the development and maintenance of health, harmony and balance of body, mind and spirit. In other words, it provides the means to live a relaxed, healthy and happy life and enables us to cope even when times are hard.
In the classic Yoga text, the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, dating back some 2000 years, we are told that to achieve this balance and the deep awareness vital to a happy life, one should practice the 8 limbs/branches of Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga.
The Eight Branches of Yoga Limbs are listed as:
“yama niyama asana pranayama pratyahara dharana dhyana samadhayo’stavangaani”
The eight limbs of Yoga are: the 5 observances, the 5 actions, postures, breathing, mastery of senses, concentration, meditation and joy.
Yoga Sutra II. 29.
In practice Ashtanga Yoga consists of Postures, which work to strengthen and realign the body, breathing techniques to increase vitality and strengthen the nervous system and concentration and meditation practices to calm the mind and ease stress. Regular practice will improve the functioning of all of our systems, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive etc., bringing us the good health that will be the foundation of a better quality of life. These physical benefits in turn improve one’s state of mind, bringing about greater relaxation, less stress and an ability to cope, no matter what life throws at us.
Yoga – Union, Enlightenment, Bliss
The word Yoga means union. This can be thought of as the union of body and mind, of mind and spirit, of the individual and the universal. Such union creates happiness and helping students to achieve this state by making themselves healthy through the traditional practices of Ashtanga Yoga, (as outlined by Patanjali over 2000 years ago) is the goal of our School.