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Bahiranga yoga – The many mysteries of Bahiranga yoga

The word ‘bahiranga’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘outside’ or ‘something external’. When we speak about it in the context of yoga, bahiranga yoga is an integral component of ashtanga yoga. Through this blog, we shall shed some insights into what bahiranga yoga is, its components, and its importance. Without any delay, let’s dive into the topic.


Before we learn about bahiranga yoga, it is crucial to understand where it originates from. Ashtanga yoga is a set of principles propounded by the mighty sage Patanjali. In his work, he has carefully highlighted the crux of yogic principles. Besides, he has also emphasized the idea that by following his teachings, one can achieve inner peace.

The ashtanga yoga comprises of eight principles, also known as eight limbs. These eight principles are as follows:

  • Yamas: focuses on behavioral aspects
  • Niyamas: focuses on behavioral restraints
  • Asanas: focuses on physical postures
  • Pranayama: focuses on breathing techniques
  • Pratyahara: focuses on withdrawing the senses
  • Dharana: focuses on concentration
  • Dhyan: focuses on meditation
  • Samadhi: focuses on transcendence



Our readers might be under the impression that the term ‘bahiranga yoga’ is a new concept. Thankfully, it is not so. Bahiranga yoga refers to the first four limbs of Ashtanga yoga. The limbs that form bahiranga yoga are yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayamas, and pratyahara. Now, let’s discuss each one of these components in detail.


 1. YAMA

They are the ethical guidelines in Hinduism which define the do’s and don’t’s. Patanjali has described 5 Yamas and we shall discuss them in brief.

  • Non-violence (Ahimsa): It deals with non-violence and this teaching guides people to refrain from using violence. Violence should not be used as a device for personal benefit. Truthfulness (Satya): This component of bahiranga yogadeals with honesty. It tells us to think twice before lying as lying causes severe problems.
  • Non-stealing (Asetya): The term stealing is not limited to materialistic items only. It comprises of stealing people’s ideas, visions, and ideology too. It guides people to refrain from stealing and not take undue credit.
  • Energy Moderation (Brahmacharya): What Patanjali means by Brahmacharya is to avoid spending energy on unnecessary objects/people. When we spend energy recklessly, it makes us miserable and lethargic.
  • Non-hoarding (Aparigraha): This aspect of bahiranga yogateaches us to be content with the things available to us. Likewise, it also teaches us to not dwell on materialistic items.


Patanjali has described the components of Niyamas as below:

  • Cleanliness (Saucha): We are familiar with the idea that it is easier to thrive in a clean environment. This component tells us to declutter the mind and surrounding so that we can perform better.
  • Contentment (Santosha): Normally, people have the notion that when they achieve everything, they will be content. However, the reality is not so simple. In this idea of bahiranga yoga, Patanjali teaches us to be content with whatever we have and our current scenario.
  • Right effort (Tapa): It refers to the idea of placing the right effort at the right place and time. It is also known as the thrill, happiness, and enthusiasm we feel while doing something that we love.
  • Self-study (Svadhyaya): We need to understand what we are before we interpret others around us. Once we get to know our inner self, we can easily understand the environment surrounding us and prosper accordingly.
  • Surrender to the creator (Ishvara Pranidhana): This is the final component of Niyamas of bahiranga yoga. It refers to accepting the idea that there is a supreme being governing us and we all do as he wishes.


The third limb is asana. It is a comfortable position which we can hold for a prolonged period. Patanjali does not describe any specific asana but the most popular asana is the lotus position. A comfortable asana will help you to achieve your goals easily and make the yoga comfortable.


The fourth limb of ashtanga yoga and the fourth component of bahiranga yoga is pranayama. It refers to the breathing exercises. Practicing pranayama helps us to accentuate/refine the breathing process and make the body and mind sharp.


It is a component of bahiranga yoga that involves withdrawing awareness. What it means is, withdrawing the senses from external objects. It involves consciously linking with the supreme being. It revolves around the concept of freeing oneself from the external environment and looking deep into oneself.

Thus, these are the components of bahiranga yoga and once you understand these parts in detail, you can have a broader understanding of yoga too.