Around 2000 years ago, the great Sage Patanjali has classified the scientific system of Yoga into classical texts in the form of “Yoga Sutra.”
The literal meaning of Sutra means “Thread”, The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali consists of principles of classical yoga in the form of 196 statements threaded together.
The sage Patanjali has classified yoga into the eight essential principles which are popularly known as limbs.
“Asht” means eight
“Anga” means limbs or principles
So the literal meaning of “Ashtang Yoga” is “Eight limbs” or “Eight Principles”
Eight Limbs of Yoga:
- Yam: Universal morality or moral restraints
- Niyam: Personal observance and rules to follow
- Asan: Practice of Yoga Postures
- Pranayam: Control of Pran or Breathing exercises
- Pratyahar: Withdrawal of mind from the senses
- Dharana: Practice of focus or concentration and cultivating inner awareness
- Dhyan: Meditation or Devotion to Divine
- Samadhi: State of superconsciousness
Asans, Pranayam, and Pratyahar are collectively known as “Hatha Yoga” Dharana, Dhyan, and Samadhi are collectively knowns as “Raja Yoga”