Roots of Yoga
Yoga is a classical Indian discipline which promotes physical, mental and spiritual health. The basis of Yoga was compiled and systematized around the 3rd cCE by the sage Patanjali in his treatise 'Yoga Sutras'. There are 196 sutras (aphorisms) that cover all aspects of life, beginning with a prescribed code of conduct and ending with humankind's vision of her/his true Self. According to Patanjali, "yogah citta vrtti nirodhah" -- Yoga is the cessation of movements in consciousness. With the restraint of the fluctuations of the mind, the soul is uncovered. When a persons mind, intellect and self are freed from restless desire, they rest in the spirit within, and the person becomes 'one' in communion with the Universal Spirit/God within/ Enlightenment.
This ancient science and philosophy of life is based on the belief that health, happiness, contentment and peace of mind come from within. Many different types of yoga practices have emerged over the years to help us open up to these inner qualities.
Yoga Master BKS Iyengar's method of hatha yoga is based on the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. These 8 limbs include the Yamas (universal ethical principles), Niyamas (rules of personal conduct), Asana (practice of yoga postures), Pranayama (practice of yoga breathing), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption in the Infinite). Iyengar explains that all aspects of the 8 fold path can be found within the study of Asana and Pranayama.