Q&A: What Does “Ashtanga” Imply?

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Richard Rosen explains what ashtanga means

What does “Ashtanga” imply?

—Rena Grant, Seattle

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Richard Rosen’s reply:

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The time period “ashtanga” comes from the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, the place it refers to classical yoga’s eight (ashta)-limb (anga) method. (Some yoga students reminiscent of Georg Feuerstein preserve that Patanjali’s actual contribution to yoga was kriya yoga, the “yoga of etiquette motion,” andalso that the eight-limb method was borrowed from one other supply.) The eight limbs are restraint, observance, stylized, breath repression, sense withdrawal, focus, meditative absorption, andalso “enstasy.” This final phrase, which implies “standing inside,” is Mircea Eliade’s translation of samadhi, which accurately means to “put collectively” or “convey into concord.” In samadhi, we “stand inside” our real Self in preparation for the final word state of classical yoga, the everlasting “aloneness” (kaivalya) of that Self within the purity andalso rejoice of its being.

Whereas Patanjali’s underlying dualism inbetween Self andalso {nature} hasactually lengthy been out of favor, his eight-limb technique nonetheless influences many contemporary faculties of yoga. A kind of faculties is the at the moment fashionable Ashtanga Yoga developed by Ok. Pattabhi Jois from the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya (father of T.Ok.V. Desikachar, brother-in-law of B.Ok.S. Iyengar, andalso mentor to each).

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Since I’m not an {authority} on this method, I requested Ashtanga tutor Richard Freeman to teach meaning. He replied that the Krishnamacharya-Pattabhi Jois system is true modeled on the eight limbs of Patanjali; the emphasis, however, is on the right efficiency of the third limb (stylized) as a method of realizing increase the description the limbs, consistingof, {of course}, samadhi. Since we within the West typically focus completely on stylized andalso overlook the variousother limbs, Richard believes that Pattabhi Jois calls his system “Ashtanga” partially “to encourage his {students} to look into the entire method evenmoreinitially deeply” andalso combine increase the description the limbs.

Richard Rosen hasactually been writing for Yoga Journal because the Nineteen Seventies.

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