Ashtanga or 8-limb yoga is a time-tested himalayan medicine designed to cure people of the disease called Samsara, known in english as: themselves!

It restores vibrant health to the body-mind and boosts the spirit by removing the 6 poisons that clog the arteries of the spiritual heart (desire, anger, delusion, greed, envy and sloth).

It is in fact a non-anesthetized open-heart surgery where the patient operates on herself! but for reasons that are becoming apparent it is much more inviting to call it an exotic word nobody really understands.

In reality the yoga mat is an operating table. The breath is an incisive scalpel that cuts smoothly into the inner layers. And the asanas are used as different view-points to expose every recesses of the human experience.

Both the teacher and the practitioner shine the flood-light of their awareness as brightly as possible on the situation to ensure that it is the dis-eased tissues and not the healthy ones that are disposed of (which is why a in-sight-full teacher can be helpful).

The Ashtanga system provides a gradual step-by-step methodology to proceed with this intervention and traditionally names 8 steps to purify all areas of the patient’s life.

The 8 steps of the surgical procedure can be summed up as follow:

1. Asana = reviving body, chopping off head.
2. yamas = putting new head and wiring to external world.
3. niyamas = wiring new head to heart.
4. pranayama = opening heart, removing impurities.
5. prathyahara = reversing mind-flow and tracking source of universe.
6. dharana = bypassing mindless babbles and tracking source of self.
7. dhyana = removing identification with form and personal doership.
8. Samadhi = no stitching up, everything stays open. Reality flows unobstructed as awakened intelligence!

Luckily, it is said that for the student packed with ardent and earnest zeal, the cure is very near… As for the rest of us, it might take a while, but then again, our head is already in the tiger’s mouth!

If your head still gets in the way of you leaping into the unknown,
more serious information is available at the official website of
the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in mysore, India.