• Allyson Huval

Introducing Ashtanga

Let’s add some depth!

Over the next eight weeks, we’ll focus on the deeper philosophical discussions between Catholicism and yoga. In particular, the eight limbs of yoga and how they relate to the Catholic faith.

I would like to note first that yoga philosophies are not the same as Catholic philosophies, but they mirror each other. We can use yogic philosophies to enhance our Catholic faith without replacing it.

Ashtanga is the eight limbs of yoga derived from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. These eight disciplines are meant to create a healing, relaxing effect on the body. Patanjali saw the aspects of yoga as limbs of a tree. Each limb grows at its own pace, but the limbs can only grow when the tree grows. The more you practice, the more you receive. Patanjali relates each form of yoga to a tree in a forest. Each form has differing paths to the same goal: connection with the Divine.*

The eight limbs of yoga are:

  1. Yama: our treatment towards the world

  2. Niyama: our treatment of ourselves

  3. Asana: poses

  4. Pranayama: breath

  5. Pratyahara: sense withdrawal

  6. Dharana: concentration

  7. Dhyana: meditation

  8. Samadhi: enlightenment

I hope you will learn something new from the next few posts. Do not be intimidated by the unfamiliar words! Together we can share the benefits that yoga can add to complement our Catholic faith.

Peace and Namaste,


*This is referred by David Swenson in Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual.

Picture: Amrita Yoga

#yoga #ashtanga


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