8 Limbs of Yoga

Posted by Sparkly Yoga on October 21, 2010

8 Limbs of Yoga


For those of you wondering what yoga is...
in summary yoga means 'union'. Union of body, mind and spirit (in a nutshell).
So infact yoga is a way of life. We start at the physical, our vehicle for our soul in this life, and through hatha we care for, nurture and stengthen our vehicle so that we can then expand our consciousness to the other aspects of ourselves.
Traditionally there are the 8 limbs of yoga which are the keys to achieving yoga.
This is a summary of the path:


1. YAMA – abstension – moral observations
Ahimsa – non violence (should include vegetarianism in theory).
Satya – truthfulness.
Asteya – not to steal.
Brahmacharaya – chastity/celibacy – may be interpreted though as sexual practice without lust.
Aparigraha – abstaining from greed.
Also: forbearance (self control/patience), fortitude (courage/endurance), kindness, straightforwardness, moderation in diet and purity.
Practicing yamas purifies words, thoughts and deeds.

2. NIYAMA – observance – rules of conduct
Sauca – Physical hygiene – pure diet, pure mind and thoughts.
Samtosa – Contentment
Tapas – Austerity, ascetism – self-control, not extreme or masochistic ascetism.
Svadhyana – continuous learning/study.
Ishvarapranidhana – devotion to God/ nonattachment
Also: charity, modesty, having a discerning mind, sacrifice.
Practicing Niyama creates a spiritual attitude and awakens one's witness consciousness.

3. ASANA – posture – Hatha Yoga
Correct posture has an equalizing effect in the body and prepares one for meditation moving energies in higher centres.
Padmasana (lotus) and siddhasana are highly praised asanas.

4. PRANAYAMA – breath/prana control – breathing exercises
Focus on breath held between inhalations and exhalations.
Puraka – Inhalation.
Kumbhaka – Holding the breath.
Rechaka – Exhalation.
By becoming well versed in Pranayama one is able to direct pranic current through shushumna to promote the rise of Kundalini.

5. PRATYAHARA – withdrawal of the senses – restraining external temptations
Right breathing, body healthy and pure allows deep concentration and complete

6. DHARANA – fixed attention – concentration
Ekagrata – one pointedness of the mind.
Concentration on each chakra/element progressively.
Use of mantras and mandalas.

7. DHYANA – contemplation – meditation
Dharana is unbroken.
Uninterrupted meditation without an object.
Inner dialogue completely stops.
Turiya – 4th state of consciousness beyond wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep. Experience of Bliss begins.

8. SAMADHI – complete eternal knowledge – union with God
Transcendental state, complete equilibrium, self realization, divine knowledge.
Through the successful practice of Pratyahara (withdrawal), Dharana (fixed and stilled mind) and Dhyana (tranquility) one enters the Sheath of Bliss.
Union of Shiva and Shakti, Kundalini having risen through all the chakras.


Category: Yoga

Tags: yoga, yoga philosophy


    • Jess Crump
    • Posted by Jess Crump on October 25, 2010
    • Thank you for this article! There are so many different explanations of Yoga out there and this one really provides a holistic but clear interpretation.

    • Sparkly Yoga
    • Posted by Sparkly Yoga on October 25, 2010
    • You're welcome Jess. Glad it was useful for you. :)

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