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What is final goal of Ashtanga? And how do you even begin this journey?

The final goal of Ashtanga Yoga is Samadhi. This step is ultimate self-realization of the fact that you are the Self and realizing this divinity inside you, is a complex process that starts with the basic steps of Yama, Niyama and Asanas as an external purification process, followed by Pranayama, Prayahara, Dharana and Dyana as internal purification process leading up to Samadhi. This is how each step contributes to the final goal. It is almost as if we are starting from the external world, and then traveling internally through our own layers or koshas to then reach the ultimate.

Yamas are Don’ts and these principles help us make the right contact with the world outside. Speaking truth, non-stealing and practicing non-violence are examples of us making the right contact with the world outside, to start to then focus on our own self.

Niyamas are Do’s and these principles help us establish the right relationship with our own self externally. Examples of this include maintaining cleanliness of body and thought as well as self-study to improve the quality of thoughts.

Asanas as the next step in this progression, assist by maintaining the physical apparatus (our body) healthy in order to not have any blockers as we progress down the spiritual path.

Pranayama then takes it one more step inward to then make us focus on our breath and start to calm the mind.

Just like when ripe, a fruit falls from the tree, Pratyahara can be thought of as letting go of the senses that are usually focused on the external world outside and start to further our journey internally and grow spiritually.

Dharana is focus or concentration and the object of focus helps us truly start experiencing that we are not our body or mind and small flame of realization can be achieved in this stage.

Dyana or true meditation is when the object of meditation and the experiencer becomes one. The object of meditation is oneself and then, this leads to the final stage of reflecting on “Who am I?” to realize that you are the Divine, and this is the final stage of Samadhi as a progression from Dyana.

To understand this 8 limb philosophy, Arva Yoga will begin with Yama series - A 5 week journey that comprises of 90 min session per week of asanas, pranayama as well as guided meditation. Session starts on July 18 8:00am ET and last day to register is July 17 2021. Attend one or attend all!

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