The Eight Limbs of Yoga

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Theresa Moodie

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras describes the Eight Limbs of Yoga as a path to Samadhi (Enlightenment). The Eight Limbs can be interpreted as an outline to explain how Yoga embodies an external, physical practice and then moves inwards to a deeper practice. Each aspect is vitally important and regardless of the order, each step should be maintained along the yogic path.

1. Yamas: Ethical considerations
2. Niyamas: Self Observation
3. Asana: Physical poses
4. Pranayama: Breath Control
5. Pratyahara: Sense Withdrawl
6. Dharana: Concentration
7. Dhyana: Meditation
8. Samadhi: Freedom/Peace

The limbs begin by looking at how you interact with society through the yamas and how you practice self discipline throught he niyamas and asana. Pranayama becomes a bridge to move from the external body to the mind. Pratyahara and dharana work to focus the mind. Once the body and the mind are under control, meditation becomes the final bridge to understanding of “Self.”

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Theresa Moodie
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