Yoga Philosophy Series- The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Patanjali’s Path to live a meaningful and purposeful life

 In the western world many of us refer to the yoga practice as  ‘doing’ yoga or ‘going to yoga’, but Yoga is more than physical exercise. It is a practice that transcends physicality and it is very personal and subjective. Regardless of what yoga is to you, it is important to note that there is a philosophical aspect to yoga that allows us to understand the practice at a deeper level. 

For those who are not familiar with yoga philosophy, we are going to start slow with one of the first things you learn during teacher training: the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Also known as Patanjali’s guidelines for self-discipline and ethical conduct. By learning and following these guidelines, we not only get to know ourselves better, but they help us move forward on our spiritual path and evolve our yoga practice. 

The Eight Limbs of Yoga: 

  1. Yamas - these are the ethical values towards others and are composed of 5 categories that will be covered in depth in a future post. 
  2. Niyamas - The Niyamas are the rules of conduct that apply to the individual - to ourselves - They involve purification, breaking habits that don’t serve us and surrendering. An in depth look of the Niyamas will be available alongside the Yamas. 
  3. Asana - We know this as postures, and they are. What many do not know is that the purpose of these postures is to bring steadiness, health, lightness and balance to the body. 
  4. Pranayama - This is the science of breathing, the essence of life and the expansion and managing of the life force within us.
  5. Pratyahara - Refers to the taming of the senses or withdrawing the senses from the outer world in order to heighten inner awareness.
  6. Dharana - Refers to concentration and the ability to focus exclusively on only one thing or object. 
  7. Dhyana - This goes hand in hand with Dharana as it takes concentration to a deeper level of meditation
  8. Samadhi - It is the connection of the universal self with the self. It is considered moving towards sameness and ultimate bliss. 

So, Next time you are ready to unroll your Shakti Warrior eco-friendly yoga mat, take a moment to pause and think about these guidelines and notice how your practice, and your life, change for the better and evolve to new levels of undeniable awareness, understanding, compassion and love. 


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