What is Yoga?

Yoga is a 5000 year old system meant to help us achieve everlasting happiness.

Yoga as is popularly known, is a system of stretching that makes us flexible and promotes good health. But happiness is not just about good health alone. Are all healthy people happy? Of course not. Unless we can control the mind and its desires we can never be happy. Yoga urges us to search for happiness within.

Around the year 300 B.C a great yogi from India by the name of Patanjali systematized yoga into a system called 'Ashtanga Yoga'. 'Asthanga' in Sanksrit literally means 'eight-limbed'. Patanjali's Ashtanga yoga is an eight limbed process which leads to happiness. The 'yoga' that we popularly know (the postures and exercises) is just one of the eight limbs (the third limb) and is known as Hatha Yoga (hatha means 'forceful')

The table below summarizes the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. Hover the mouse on any item to get the detailed meaning.

  Eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali
Yamas (moral rules)
  •   Ahimsa
  •   Satya
  •   Aparigraha
  •   Brahmacharya
  •   Asteya
  • Niyamas (personal disciplines)
  •   Saucha
  •   Santosha
  •   Tapas
  •   Swadhyaya
  •   Ishwara pranidhana
  • Asanas (yoga postures)
  •   What is it?
  • Pranayama (Breath control)
  •   What is it?
  • Pratyahara (Turning the senses inward)
  •   What is it?
  • Dharana (concentration)
  •   What is it?
  • Dhyana (meditation)
  •   What is it?
  • Samadhi (superconscious state)
  •   What is it?

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