Last week I had a valid question from one of my students. She asked about the difference between Ashtanga yoga and the Yoga and Ayurveda course we are doing.
My answer was that the main difference is the knowledge you are acquiring on Ayurveda, how the body works and reacts to the elements and there will be a few variations to what we usually do os a regular Ashtanga yoga class. For instance there will be no Vinyasas flows and some times the pace of the practice will be a lot slower than what we doing the class.
But this two minutes answer does not cover it. Learning about our bodies and minds is essential to achieve a higher awareness and ultimately enlightenment.
Ashtanga Yoga means 8 limbs, or paths to get to enlightenment.
These paths are: 1- Yamas and 2- Nyamas, which are guidance on social and personal behaviour and habits, including non violence, contentment, cleanliness, etc. Then there is 3- Asana, which is what we do in class, postures hat help s to develop discipline and connection between the mind, body and spirit.
So these are only tree of the eight.
We then have:
4- Pranayama: breath control. Through this we can earn about the connection between breath, mind and emotions
5- Pratyahara: withdrawal or sensory transcendence
6- Dharana: concentration; self- observation, attention to a single point.
7- Dhyana: it’s a step further form Dharna, where you are keenly aware without needing to have a single focus.
8-Samadhi: a state of ecstasy, enlightenment.
Yoga is a process, a journey. In this journey one limb will follow the other in an evolution way. Sometimes we only focus on the Yoga Asanas and although they are great, they are only one part of the puzzle
With the Meditation and the Yoga and Ayurveda course we are getting deeper onto the other paths of Ashtanga, becoming more self observant, understanding our own nature to be in balance and ultimately reach Samadhi.