Istiva

Definition - What does Istiva mean?

Istiva is a Sanskrit word that means “supremacy” and “superiority.” It comes from the root syllable isa, which means “Lord.” In the context of yoga, it is one of the eight main siddhis that a yogi may attain through deep and prolonged meditation and other yoga practices. These siddhis are special abilities or non-ordinary capabilities that are described in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.

The siddhi of istiva is the attainment of lordship or becoming the Lord, which includes supremacy over creation and the ability to destroy at will.

Yogapedia explains Istiva

The ashta (eight) siddhis take years of devotion and practice of the eight limbs of yoga (Ashtanga yoga), particularly samyama, which is the simultaneous practice of pratyahara, dharana, and dhyana.

In addition to istiva, the other ashta siddhis are:

  • Anima – the ability to reduce oneself to the size of an atom
  • Laghima – the ability to make oneself weightless
  • Mahima – the capability to increase the size of one's body
  • Garima – the power to make oneself physically heavy
  • Prapti – the capacity to travel everywhere
  • Prakamya – attaining whatever one wishes
  • Vashitva – ability to control others' minds, as well as organic and inorganic objects

In Hindu mythology, these siddhis represent the eight primary powers that gave Hanuman (the monkey god and devotee of Rama) his god-like powers.

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