Ashtanga is it a yoga practice style or 8 limbs towards a purposeful life?

The answer is that it's both!

by Amy Adams

Recently I wrote about Hatha yoga and its core definition, sometimes with all the various styles spoken about, trademarked or invented it simply is confusing at times. From that, I’ve decided to keep posting some simple graphics to help sort out a lot of yoga terms and ideas. Ashtanga was confusing to me since I’ve heard the word in various contexts. So to help clear that up, today I am sharing a new graphic, one that sums up Ashtanga or the 8 fold path from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. This is different than the hatha yoga physical practice and style developed by K. Pattabhi Jois. Ashtanga as a hatha yoga practice links breath with posture and is physically intense.

I chose to highlight this one as well because there are also ‘branches of yoga’ which are different and this refers to ‘limbs’ and there are 8…yep tree limbs popped into my mind (not my body limbs.) Thus, with so much information accessible to us and I’m a visual person thought it would be helpful to make another graphic guide to sort out the language around these definitions. There are links below the image for more detailed definitions and descriptions as well. If you find these graphics helpful and want to see more of them, let me know in the comments.

Ashtanga Eight Fold Path

Limbs

Yama
Niyama
Asana
Pranayama
Pratyahara
Dharana
Dhyana
Samadhi

Focus

Ethical conduct, living with integrity
Self-discipline, spiritual studies
Practicing yoga postures, body is a vessel
Respiration, breath regulation
Transcending the physical senses
Unencumbered mind, concentration
Beyond focus, meditation
Transcendence, ecstatic experience

There is a lot of detailed information on the internet and in books. This guide is to help sort out terms and try to keep it simple and in order. You can delve deeper by reading this book –


Or read Yoga Journal’s brief and simple answer to the question What are the 8 limbs of yoga? by clicking on the link or for a more detailed explanation click here to read Expressions of Spirit’s article.

If you found this helpful, please share this post with your fellow knowledge seekers, yogi and non-yogi friends and colleagues.


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Related topix:

The list of Hatha yoga styles goes on and on * Conscious Life Space * You are the guru!

Yet, the simplest yoga term for a physical practice all starts with the term Hatha. Frankly sorting out all the different yoga styles can be confusing, especially since there are a lot of styles that range from an instructor creating their own style and accompanying term, to a simple noun descriptor – Ashtanga, Bikram, Family, Pre-natal, Dog yoga, Iyengar, Vinyasa yoga, Yin, Kriya, Kundalini, etc.