The reason behind the stability of any great structure lies primarily on the way its foundation has been made. The greatest monuments, buildings, and engineering marvels owe their grandeur to the foundation on which they have been built, without which, the basic stability would not be possible.
On similar lines, the structure of Ashtanga yoga by sage Patanjali has been devised out, wherein the Asanas, pranayamas and meditations happen to be the vibrant and tangible aspects of Ashtanga yoga and the foundation, intangible and often overlooked are the “yamas” and “niyamas”.
Owing to the intangible essence of yamas and niyamas , they have not been cultivated much into yogic practices as much as the tangible limbs or steps like asanas and pranayamas.
Today dynamic postures and intense physical display is understood as yoga. Interesting breath exercises and flamboyant body display woo the masses and these have mushroomed across the globe and are termed as “Yoga”.
No doubt they are yogic disciplines, but this approach of reaching out to yoga is more like attempting to climb a staircase by missing out on the first few steps, trying to jumping directly onto the higher steps and often injuring oneself in the process and so not being able to reap the true results.
By taking all the steps in a methodological manner, one gets to understand what really “yoga” is all about. Maybe that’s why you might have never seen an image of Buddha displaying a headstand or Vivekananda adopting a dynamic yoga posture yet being the greatest yogis ever on the planet. !!