8 Limbs of Yoga explained
The Eight Limbs of Yoga, also known as Ashtanga Yoga, are a set of principles and practices that form the foundation of classical yoga as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Here is a brief explanation of each of the eight limbs:
- Yama: These are ethical principles that guide how we interact with others and the world around us. The five yamas are ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy or moderation), and aparigraha (non-greed).
- Niyama: These are personal practices that promote self-discipline and spiritual development. The five niyamas are saucha (cleanliness), santosha (contentment), tapas (discipline), svadhyaya (self-study), and Ishvara pranidhana (surrender to a higher power).
- Asana: The physical postures of yoga that cultivate strength, flexibility, balance, and ease in the body. Asanas also prepare the body for meditation and deeper spiritual practices.
- Pranayama: The practice of controlling the breath to regulate the flow of prana, or life force energy, in the body. Pranayama practices help to calm the mind, increase energy, and improve overall health.
- Pratyahara: The withdrawal of the senses from external stimuli in order to cultivate inner focus and concentration. This prepares the mind for deeper spiritual practices.
- Dharana: Concentration, or the ability to hold the mind steady on a single point or object of meditation. This practice leads to deeper states of meditation.
- Dhyana: Meditation, or the practice of observing the mind and cultivating a sense of inner peace and stillness.
- Samadhi: The ultimate goal of yoga, which is a state of complete absorption and union with the Divine. In this state, the practitioner experiences a sense of oneness with all beings and a profound sense of inner peace and joy.
Each of the eight limbs of yoga builds upon the previous one, with the ultimate goal being to reach a state of union with the Divine. The practice of yoga, including the eight limbs, is intended to help individuals live a more balanced and fulfilling life, both on and off the mat.