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The Eight Physical Attainments

There are eight main Physical Attainments, or supra-human powers gained through the practice of yoga. They appear in full as soon as breath-control is perfected, but may appear in part even earlier.

These eight Attainments are:

(1) ANIMA, TO BECOME SMALL AS AN ATOM. The word anima comes from the word "anu" an atom, which represents the limit of the divisibility of space. According to the Hindu theory, the laws of space, as we know them, are no longer valid inside the atom. Through this attainment of "anima", the adept can become as small as he likes, that is, he can see things of the smallest size, even the inner structure of an atom, as clearly as he can see things of human size.

(2) LAGHIMA, TO HAVE NO WEIGHT: is the control of the effect of the earth's attraction on the body by developing in each cell the opposite (centrifugal) tendency. This is considered to be fairly easy to do and is used for the frequently performed act of levitation. According to the Markandeya Purana, Laghima means "to have an extreme speed."

(3) MAHIMA, TO BE IMMENSELY LARGE: enables the adept to see enormously vast things, the functioning of the solar systems or that of universes.

According to the Markandeya Purana, Mahima means "to be honored by all beings".

(4) GARIMA, TO BE VERY HEAVY: is the contrary of Laghima and enables the adept to make his body or any object as heavy as a mountain and as impossible to move.

Some treatises omit Garima, and speak instead of Kamavasayita, Complete Satisfaction, which is the mental attainment of always, in every way, feeling perfect satisfaction.

(5) PRAPTI, TO BE TRANSPORTED ANYWHERE: the adept can at will transport himself to any place in any world at any time; or (Shiva Samhita) he finds all he wishes for always at hand; or (Markandeya Purana) he obtains that after getting which nothing remains to be desired.

(6) PRAKAMYA, TO SEE ONE'S WISHES FULFILLED: merely by wishing, the adept sees his desire immediately fulfilled; or (Shiva Samhita) he becomes at will visible or invisible; or (Markandeya Purana) he pervades all things.

(7) VASHITVA, TO CONTROL ALL CREATURES AND ELEMENTS: by which the adept can make any creature of the three worlds act as he wishes "whether it belongs to the past, present or future" (Shiva Samhita) and he can also control wind, rain and other elements. "He holds every one in his power" (Markandeya Purana).

(8) ISHITVA, LORDSHIP: by which the adept rules over all things and enjoys unrivaled glory. He has power over the formation, subsistence and dissolution of all things and beings, and can thus make new beings or things appear, live and disappear in the past, the present and the future" (Shiva Samhita). "He appears like a god" (Markandeya Purana).


Besides the above eight attainments the adept gains "the bodily perfections of: appearance (rupa), charm (lavanya), strength (bala) and firmness (sanhanana)". His body acquires such divine beauty that god, man and beast are charmed.

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