Ashtanga yoga (Sanskrit: अष्टाङ्गयोग, romanized: aṣṭāṅgayoga, “the eight limbs of yoga”) is Patanjali’s classification of classical yoga, as set out in his Yoga Sutras

He defined the eight limbs as yamas (abstinences), niyama (observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (absorption)

The eight limbs form a sequence from the outer to the inner

Postures, important in modern yoga as exercise, form just one limb of Patanjali’s scheme; he states only that they must be steady and comfortable

The main aim is kaivalya, discernment of Purusha, the witness-conscious, as separate from prakriti, the cognitive apparatus, and disentanglement of Purusha from its muddled defilements