Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga, which means “eight-limbed yoga”, aims to cleanse both mind and body. This can be done through the eight spiritual practices: yama or moral codes, niyama or self purification and study, asana or posture, pranayama or breath control, pratyahara or sense control, dharana or concentration, dhyana or meditation, and samadhi or contemplation.

The eight limbs of Raja Yoga

The eight "limbs" or steps prescribed in the second pada of the Yoga Sutras are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana,Dhyana and Samadhi.

Ashtanga yoga consists of the following levels:

  • Yama refers to the five abstentions
  • Ahimsa: abstention from violence
  • Satya: abstention from lying; truth
  • Asteya: abstention from theft, and by extension, non-covetousness
  • Brahmacharya: abstention from sexual intercourse; continence
  • Aparigraha: abstention from possessions, and by extension, abstaining from greed for possessions
  • Niyama refers to the five observances
  • Asana: Posture of the body, especially perfect posture for meditation.
  • Pranayama: Control of prana ('life force') or vital breath
  • Pratyahara: withdrawal of the mind, defined by Vyasa as "that by which the senses do not come into contact with their objects and, as it were, follow the nature of the mind."[citation needed]
  • Dharana: Fixing the attention on a single object; concentration
  • Dhyana: Meditation
  • Samadhi:Oneness with Brahman or a super-conscious state


In the unmanifested universe, energy has three qualities, known as
1. Gunas, that exist together in equilibrium
2. Sattva (purity); Rajas (activity, passion, the process of change)
3. Tamas (darkness, inertia). 

Once energy takes form, one quality of the three predominates. Thus on an apple tree, some fruits are ripe (sattvic), some are ripening (rajastic) and some are overripe (tamastic). But no matter what quality prevails, an element of each of the other two will always be present as well - parts of the apple will be in all the different stages. The Three Gunas encompass all existence, all actions. 

Sattvic Food 

the purest Diet
the most suitable one for any serious student of Yoga.
nourishes the body and maintains it in a peaceful state.
calms and purifies the mind, enabling it to function at its maximum potential.
leads to true health; a peaceful mind in control of a fit body, with a balanced flow of energy between them. Sattvic foods include:
wholemeal bread
fresh fruit and vegetables
pure fruit juices
butter and cheese
sprouted seeds
honey and herb teas

Rajastic Food
very hot, bitter, sour, dry or salty food
destroys the mind-body equilibrium, feeding the body at the expense of the mind
too much Rajastic food will over-stimulate the body and excite the passions, making the mind restless and uncontrollable
eating in a hurry is also considered rajastic

Rajastic foods include:
hot substances, such as sharp spices or strong herbs
stimulants such as coffee and teas
salt and chocolate

Tamastic Food
A Tamastic Diet benefits neither the mind nor the body.
Prana, or energy is withdrawn, powers of reasoning become clouded and a sense of inertia sets in.
The body's resistance to disease is destroyed and the mind filled with dark emotions, such as anger and greed.
Overeating is also considered tamastic.

Tamastic food includes:
fermented foods such as vinegar
stale overripe substances