The word Ashtanga means "8-limbed" and refers to the 8 aspects of this practice which are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. Asana is the practice of physical postures, which is what most people think of when they hear the term "yoga". But the practice of yoga is much more than a physical practice.
The first two aspects, Yama and Niyama, are a set of observances and precepts that condition and prepare the mental temperment of the student to be ready and successful in the pursuit of mastery of the third aspect, which is Yoga Asana. As a practitioner makes progress in asana practice, he or she will develop sensitivity to their own energy levels and the flow of this energy through the body. By learning to practice the forth aspect, Pranayama, the student will learn to manage this energy more effectively. The student then develops a greater sensitivity to their energy and the energies around them as well. Through the practice of the fifth aspect, Pratyahara, the student learns to manage their energetic self in a larger context, and sharpen their ability to gain proficiency in the sixth aspect, Dharana, which means concentration. Great ability of concentration must be developed in order to have success in the seventh aspect, Dhyana, which means meditation. Then, through the practice of meditation, one can begin to elevate their consciousness and discover for themselves the true purpose and wisdom of the ancient practice of yoga. The eighth aspect is Samadhi, which refers to the attainment of knowing, freedom, and union with the high state of consiousness.
Sri Pattabhiram beautifully explains the meaning of the 5 Yamas in this video.
Sri Pattabhiram discusses the 5 Niyamas in this video.
"Yoga And Sacred Geometry" Samuel Palmer's second book.
This book reveals the controlling geometry that underlies the structure of the human body and shows how we can use this knowledge to refine and perfect our yoga practice, gain insight into the true purpose of yoga and become a master of your body. Packed with marvelous full color illustrations.
e-book, 172 pages. 3D Computer generated illustrations.