Ashtanga Yoga is practiced in two aspects. I’ll talk first about Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga is the postures we use in the primary series sequence. Primary series is called yoga chikitsa or yoga therapy because of its utilization of these purifying and therapeutic postures. The yoga poses promote a healthy, strong, and limber body as well as strong digestion. You also should gain energy for your day by starting your morning in a positive environment and doing a rigorous daily practice. This is the application of physics.
An object in motion stays in motion. Similarly thinking one way will promote more of those thoughts. This works for positive and negative perspectives.
The second part of our system is the theory. I defer to the philosophy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali most often. Other texts used and embodied are the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavadgita.
In the Ashtanga Yoga Sutras, Patanjali talks about the practice dharana, concentration. Dharana is the 6th of 8 limbs in the Yoga Sutras. By concentrating the mind one gains the ability to control the senses. Sometimes this happens the other way around, by controlling the senses the mind begins to focus.
By implementing the science of Hatha Yoga to maintain health and wellness in the body and actively focusing your energies-one may experience mini moments of samadhi, or liberation.
Think of a moment when you were so absorbed in an activity that the whole world dissolved. This is one of the effects of samadhi. Everyone experiences bite sized moments of samadhi in their lifetime. Yoga helps us to get there with awareness and regularity. Every morning, by concentrating your energies around your physical practice, using the conscious embodiment of ahimsa (non-violence), and making the effort to go to the positive environment of a yoga shala to start your day, you begin to strengthen your ability to discern.
Practicing dharana, concentration, serves us in many ways. For example, it helps one to not be pulled here or thereby destructive thought patterns or behaviors. Developing discernment brings awareness to how our unconscious behaviors affect our level of happiness and wellbeing.
Yoga does not make life easy but helps us see life is not a series of problems to fix. It helps us understand, with certainty, that we aren’t broken and helps us to find joy in the work we must do to find contentment and peace in the mind in this life.
Discernment while experiencing the world enhances one’s ability to sit with unpleasant feelings until they pass. Because all emotions and feeling will pass. It is the nature of the feeling world. Yoga helps us tell reality from the dramas we create. We don’t want to tell the same story titled Struggle Bus, My Life: a Manifesto. The unchanging is the soul itself, or atman. The atman, or soul, is eternal and unchanging. She is ecstatic joy and happiness living inside of each of us. Just waiting for the mind to get out of the way so she may manifest source in our lives.