The 8 Limbs of Yoga – Ashtanga

Posted on Jan 16, 2014 in Blog, Postures | 0 comments

 

428px-PatanjaliSimply explained by Mara Carrico – from our friends at Yoga Journal

Patanjali’s eight-fold path offers guidelines for a meaningful and purposeful life.

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life.

They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one’s health; and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.

  1. Yama
  2. Niyama
  3. Asana
  4. Pranayama
  5. Pratyahara
  6. Dharana
  7. Dhyana
  8. Samadhi

1. Yama

The first limb, yama, deals with one’s ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life. Yamas are universal practices that relate best to what we know as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The five yamas are:

  • Ahimsa: nonviolence
  • Satya: truthfulness
  • Asteya: nonstealing
  • Brahmacharya: continence
  • Aparigraha: noncovetousness

2. Niyama

Niyama, the second limb, has to do with self-discipline and spiritual observances. Regularly attending temple or church services, saying grace before meals, developing your own personal meditation practices, or making a habit of taking contemplative walks alone are all examples of niyamas in practice.

The five niyamas are:

  • Saucha: cleanliness
  • Samtosa: contentment
  • Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities
  • Svadhyaya: study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self
  • Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God

Please click here to continue reading the full article on Yogajournal.com.

 

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