Yoga 101: The Eight Limbs

YoginiJust a few weeks in the past, I posted a blog that sketched out a really primary define of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. After all, the sutras can’t be captured in a single weblog submit, or perhaps a collection of them. It’s greatest after we digest them over time. And it’s even higher after we contemplate them within the context of our personal lives.

The sutras are divided into 4 padas (chapters). Lately, the second pada is the one which’s most frequently cited by yoga academics and practitioners. It is because the second pada consists of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. The Eight Limbs present a scaffolding for the entire system of yoga, in response to the sutras.

Whereas the limbs are offered in a specific order, they don’t seem to be hierarchical. They’re not like a ladder with eight steps. As a substitute, all of the limbs feed into the entire, type of just like the limbs on a tree. Training any one of many limbs helps all of the others.


The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Right here’s a brief synopsis of the limbs. I will elaborate on each in coming posts.

  1. Yama: Yama means “restraint.” The yamas are moral or ethical precepts for dwelling peacefully on the earth. They embody ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (sensible use of sexual power), and aparigraha (non-greed).
  2. Niyama: The niyamas are private practices that assist us create a wholesome basis for our day by day lives. They embody saucha (cleanliness), santosha (contentment), tapas (power or dedication to apply), svadhyaya (self-study and examine of inspiring texts) and isvara pranidhana (dedication of our apply to one thing bigger than ourselves).
  3. Asana: That is the limb most frequently related to yoga—the bodily postures.
  4. Pranayama: Pranayama is the apply of controlling and increasing the breath.
  5. Pratyahara: This limb is usually outlined as “withdrawal from the senses.” I interpret it as a refinement of our relationship with our senses.
  6. Dharana: Dharana is outlined as focus. It’s the accumulating of the thoughts onto a single object.
  7. Dhyana: Dhyana is meditation. It’s the power of thoughts to remain current it doesn’t matter what we’re experiencing by our senses.
  8. Samadhi: Samadhi is the fully settled, expansive thoughts.

That is only a bite-sized description of the framework for yoga apply. Any of the limbs—and even any a part of the limbs, say one of many yamas—may very well be fodder for years of apply. In future posts, I will elaborate on every limb.

However for now, for those who’re fascinated about studying extra, my ebook Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice, is structured across the Eight Limbs and goes into element about each. There are additionally recommendations for methods to apply each.


About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and started instructing in 1986. Charlotte is the writer of Aware Yoga, Aware Life: A Information for On a regular basis Apply, revealed by Rodmell Press. Her second ebook, Yoga for Meditators (Rodmell Press) was revealed in Could 2012. She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Journal and serves as editor for Yoga U On-line. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to varsities and to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and people sextet Crimson Rock Rondo, whose DVD received two Emmy awards in 2010.

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