BLOG Eight Limbs of Yoga

 

“Yoga is more than just poses. It’s not only the physical science, but in the real mental silence, the wisdom dawns.”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yama

Yama is social behavior, how you treat others and the world around you. These are moral principles. Sometimes they are called “the don’ts” or “thou shalt nots”.

There are Five Yamas:

  • Nonviolence (ahimsa): Do no harm to any creature in thought or deed.
  • Truth and honesty (satya): Tell no lies. 
  • Nonstealing (asteya): Do not steal material objects or intangibles such as the center of attention or someones time.
  • Nonlust (brahmacharya): Using energy in that way that leads to our highest self.
  • Nonpossessiveness (aparigraha): Create fulfillment from within, non attachment

Niyama

Niyama is inner discipline and responsibility, how we treat ourselves. These are sometimes called observances, the do’s, or the thou shalts.

There are Five Niyamas:

  • Purity (shauca): Cultivate purity in the bod y by practicing yoga, breathing, meditation and conscious eating.
  • Contentment (santosha): Cultivate contentment and tranquility by finding happiness with what you have and do not have.
  • Austerity (tapas): Show discipline in body, speech, and mind. 
  • Self Study (svadhyaya): Study sacred texts, which are whatever books are relevant to you and inspire and teach you. Education changes a person’s outlook on life.
  • Living with an awareness of the Divine (ishvara-pranidhana): Be devoted to God, Buddha, or whatever you consider divine.

Asana

“The posture of yoga is steady and easy, and can control the body, you can also control the mind.”  “Posture is mastered by freeing the body and mind from tension and restlessness and meditating on the infinite.”
— Patanjali. T

Pranayama

Prana is the life force or energy that flows through each of us through the breath.

“The yogi’s life is not measured by the number of days but by the number of his breaths,”
— B.K.S. Iyengar.

The practice of pranayama purifies and removes distractions from the mind making it easier to concentrate and meditate.

Pratyahara

Pratyahara is withdrawal/control of the senses. Pratyahara occurs during meditation, breathing exercises, or the practice of yoga postures — any time when you are directing your attention inward.

Dharana

Concentration or dharana involves teaching the mind to focus on one point or image.

“Concentration is binding thought in one place…”
— Patanjali. T

Dhyana

Uninterrupted meditation without an object is called dhyana. Concentration (dharana) leads to the state of meditation. The goal of meditation is not unconsciousness or nothingness. It is heightened awareness and oneness with the universe.

Samadhi

The ultimate goal of the eightfold path to yoga is samadhi or absolute bliss.


Wendy Campbell, Sep 19, 2015

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