Patanjali’s Eight fold path

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Patanjali’s Eight fold path

“Patanjali’s Eight fold path”, “eight-membered yoga”, “Αshtanga yoga”. All of the above describe the same thing. Even though most people nowadays consider “Αshtanga Yoga» as the dynamic yoga, in reality things are completely different.

“Ashta” in sanscritic means “eight” and “anga” means “fold”, “limb”. Therefore, “ashtanga” means “eightfold” or “eight-membered” and the familiar to us ashtanga yoga is the practice of yoga according to the eight limbsor the eight folds, which have been described by Patanjali (Patanjali Maharshi)*.

But which are these 8 folds?

1. Yama. The universal moral commands, the self-restrictions in relation to others.

2. Niyama. Self-observation, the rules of conduct which pertain to ourselves, purification through discipline.

3. Αsana. The postures or exercises.

4. Pranayama. The rhythmic control of breathing.

5. Pratyahara. The withdrawal of the mind from the domination of the senses and objects.

6. Dharana. Concentration of the mind.

7. Dhyana. Medidation.

8. Samadhi. The state of absolute

bliss, superconsciousness, which is achieved by deep meditation.
The Yamas and Niyamas control yogi’s passions and emotions and keep him in harmony with his fellowman. The asanas maintain a healthy and strong body, which is in harmony with nature. In the end, the yogi is liberated from consciousness of the body, he conquers it and renders it a suitable vessel for the soul.

Patanjali’s first three folds constitute the external pursuits. The next two folds, Pranayama and Pratyahara stages, constitute the inner pursuits and teach regulation of breathing and through this control of the mind, assisting in the liberation of the senses from the slavery of the objects of desire. Dharana, Dhyanaand Samadhi lead to the quest of the soul and keep the yogi in harmony with himself and with his Maker.
What is my personal sensation? Who ever tries to follow this Eight fold, will face a better image of themselves. Of course, patience is required in order to transit from one stage to the other. Nothing can be forced in nature.
*Ancient philosopher, yogi an doctor, who lived between 200 to 300 B.C. and wrote the main script for the philosophy and theory of yoga, the Yoga Sutras.