"Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis)." Patanjali's writing became the basis for a system referred to it as "Ashtanga Yoga" ("Eight-Limbed Yoga"). This eight-limbed concept became a feature of Raja yoga, and is a core characteristic of practically every Raja yoga variation taught today.The Eight Limbs of yoga practice are:
- Yama (The five "abstentions"): nonviolence, truth, non-covetousness, chastity, and abstain from attachment to possessions.
- Niyama (The five "observances"): purity, contentment, austerities, study, and surrender to god
- Asana :Literally means "seat", and in Patanjali's Sutras refers to seated positions used for meditation. Later, with the rise of Hatha yoga, asana came to refer to all the "postures"
- Pranayama ("Lengthening Prāna"): Prāna, life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath, "āyāma", to lengthen or extend
- Pratyahara ("Abstraction"): Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
- Dharana ("Concentration"): Fixing the attention on a single object
- Dhyana ("Meditation"): Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of meditation
- Samadhi ("Liberation"): merging consciousness with the object of meditation
1. Asanas - Asana sitting down to sit down, typically associated with the practice of Yoga, intended primarily to restore and maintain a practitioner's well-being, improve the body's flexibility and vitality, and promote the ability to remain in seated meditation for extended periods.
Adho Mukha Svanasana - Sun Salutation no. 5, 8
Surya Namaskara - or the Sun Salutation, is a form of worshiping Surya, the Hindu solar deity by concentrating on the Sun, for vitalization. The physical aspect of the practice links together twelve asanas in a dynamically expressed series. A full round of Surya namaskara is considered to be two sets of the twelve poses, with a change in the second set where the opposing leg is moved first. The asanas included in the sun salutation differ from tradition to tradition.
2. Pranayams- Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning "lengthening of the prana or breath". The word is composed of two Sanskrit words, Prāna, life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath, and "āyāma", to lengthen or extend. It is often translated as control of the life force (prana). Pranayama has the capacity of freeing the mind from untruthfulness, ignorance and all other painful and unpleasant experiences of the body and mind. Mental disturbances like excitement, anxiety, fear, anger, disappointment and other mental perversions can be calmed down by regular practice of Pranayama. Besides, Pranayama practice improves the functions of the brain cells with the result that memory and the faculty of discrimination and observation improves, some common pranayams are :
- Bhastrika pranayam: Benefits heart, lungs
- Kapal bhati pranayam: cures acidity, asthma, constipation and cholesterol
- Baharya pranayam: Benefits stomach
- Anulom vilon pranayam:asthma, allergy, high blood pressure and migraine
- Brahmri pranayam: hypertension, confidence and concentration
- Ujjyayi pranayam: beneficial for spiritual seekers
- Nadi shodhan pranayam: helps in smooth flow of prana in nadis