Sage Patanjali christened Ashtanga Yoga as the “power yoga”, which facilitates the collective development of human body and mind.A lot of people today, practice Ashtanga yoga to achieve physical and mental nourishment but hardly a few know that benefits of this yoga form are derived from its limps.
Years back, Patanjali compiled eight limps of the yoga, which should be mastered before proceeding to the mainstream yoga process. “Limps” are nothing but eight “steps” that a learner should master before he embarks on the preliminary stage of the Ashtanga Yoga process.
Let’s start the discussion with the meanings of the eight limps of Ashtanga yoga. The eight steps are Yama (control), Niyama (rules of conduct), Asanas (Yogic posture), Pranayama (Breath Control), Pratyahara (withdrawal of sensory consciousness), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (ceaseless meditation) and Samadhi (Saturation or total equilibrium).
Considering these steps, it can be said that Ashtanga “limps” are closely associated with the theory of “nirvana”, propounded by Lord Buddha. From this standpoint, the primary effect of Ashtanga asana is the mental ascendancy, where the body and mind collectively achieve the plane of saturation. Thus, Ashtanga yoga helps in conquering all your material and carnal perceptions and imparts a complete internal bliss.
While talking about the eight limps in his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali referred the “steps” or “limps” of Ashtanga Yoga as “Raja Yoga”. In this way, Raja Yoga refers to the most important pre-requisite of the Ashtanga Yoga. The benefits of the Yoga “limps” are best exhibited in channeling hyperactive minds and restive bodies into infinite energy. Its intense effect on mind makes its physical postures, a bit tiring.
Later, the Ashtanga Yoga has undergone several alterations, but the “aim” of the yoga has not suffered any drastic deviation. The modern-day yoga practitioners make the most of Ashtanga Yoga to address various problems of human body and mind.
According to Krishnamacharya, the leading yoga practitioner, the process of Ashtanga Yoga differs depending on the age, sex and respective concerns of human body. Thus, the Ashtanga limps vary and differ widely from adolescent to adult. However, the stringency of the Ashtanga limp depends on the age and tenacity of the learner.