Eight Limbs of Yoga

Courtesy of Alison Hinks Yoga

Here’s a brief rundown of each of the eight limbs:

  1. The Yamas – rules of moral code which includes ahimsa (non-violence or non-harming), satya (truthfuless), asteya (non-stealing), bramacharya (sexual restraint) and aparigraha (non-possessiveness).
  2. The Niyamas – rules of personal behaviour which includes saucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (discipline or austerity), svadhyaya (spiritual studies) and Ishvara Pranidhana (constant devotion to God).
  3. Asana – this refers to yoga postures now but in the days of Patanjali it meant mastering the body to sit still for meditation. Asana’s as yoga postures came about eight centuries later, and help the student ready the body for meditation.
  4. Pranayama – yoga breathing techniques designed to control vital life force.
  5. Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses.
  6. Dharana – concentration.
  7. Dhyana – the practice of meditation.
  8. Samadhi – merging with the divine.

The Chopra Centre have an excellent indepth article about Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga