Yoga is an ideal exercise that helps to control the mind as well as body. Ashtanga yoga which is otherwise known as patanjali yoga is an eight limbed path of yoga and this type of yoga helps to dissolve the ego which is a body of concepts. This yoga helps to dissolves the ego through meditation and then merges the mind with cosmic consciousness.
Ashtanga yoga is a powerful yogic tradition that follows eight methodical steps to remove all obstacles that affect mind and make the meditation effortless and dissolve the ego.
Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga yoga is based on eight methodical steps called yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi. Yama, niyama asana and pranayama are the external cleansing exercises which aids in correcting the defects in external practices while pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and Samadhi are internal cleansing practices. Once the purification is complete the control over mind develops on its own.
Yama or Moral codes of Control are practiced to make the sense organs strong and it helps to avoid the contact with outside world so that the energy and relationships remain harmonious and provides an ideal environment for meditation. The disciplines that must be followed in yama include forbearance, truth, nonviolence, kindness, honesty, diet moderation, sexual continence, straight forwardness, bodily purity etc.
Niyama or rules of conduct is a self-study and purification method that helps to detach the mind from ego and the outside world. Niyama should be accompanied by belief in god, austerity, charity, contentment, modesty, worship, learning scriptures, prayers, discerning mind, practice sacrifices and should observe vows which in turn make the way for deep meditation easier.
Asana or Posture is practiced to achieve good balance of the body and this helps to keep the body motionless during meditation and only a motionless body can keep the mind quiet. Pranayama or control of breath helps to control the mind and to store the energy that is essential during deep meditation when breathing is stopped temporarily.
Pratyahara or sense control is the withdrawal of sensory perceptual experience which aids in stopping the disturbances during meditation. This should be practiced by focusing on purifying the sensations with the help of meditative sounds.
Dharana or concentration is done by focusing the mind on an object by controlling the attention and mind fixing ability. Dhyana or meditation is a state of mind where the concentration remains uninterrupted without even a mind disturbing thought.
Samadhi or Absorption in to the universal is an effortless meditation where the concentration remains uninterrupted without any effort. Here the consciousness of the individual practicing Samadhi get dissolved in the pure cosmic consciousness. Finally it leads to nirvana or enlightenment.