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Yoga 101: The Eight Limbs


This entry was posted on Could 8, 2024 by Charlotte Bell.

Some time again, I posted a weblog that sketched out a really primary define of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. After all, we are able to’t presumably seize the essence of the sutras in a single weblog submit, or perhaps a sequence 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. Right this moment’s submit will define the Eight Limbs of Yoga.

The sutras are divided into 4 padas (chapters). The second pada is the one which yoga academics and practitioners most frequently confer with. It’s because the second pada contains the Eight Limbs of Yoga. The Eight Limbs present a scaffolding for the entire system of yoga, in accordance with the sutras.

Whereas the sutras record the limbs in a selected order, they aren’t hierarchical. They’re not like a ladder with eight steps. As a substitute, all of the limbs feed into the entire, form 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:

  1. Yama: Yama means “restraint.” The yamas are moral or ethical precepts for residing peacefully on the earth. They embody ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (clever 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 follow), svadhyaya (self-study and research of inspiring texts) and isvara pranidhana (dedicating our follow to one thing bigger than ourselves).
  3. Asana: That is the limb we most frequently affiliate with yoga—the bodily postures.
  4. Pranayama: Pranayama is the follow of controlling and increasing the breath.
  5. Pratyahara: The most typical description of this limb is “withdrawal from the senses.” I interpret it as a refinement of our relationship with our senses.
  6. Dharana: Dharana is focus. It’s the gathering 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 means of our senses.
  8. Samadhi: Samadhi is the fully settled, expansive thoughts.

That is only a bite-sized description of the framework for yoga follow. Any of the limbs—and even any a part of the limbs, say one of many yamas—might be fodder for years of follow.

When you’re interested by studying extra, my e-book Aware Yoga, Aware Life: A Information for On a regular basis Follow, outlines the Eight Limbs and goes into element about each. There are additionally strategies for methods to follow each.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and commenced educating in 1986. Charlotte is the writer of Aware Yoga, Aware Life: A Information for On a regular basis Follow and Yoga for Meditators, each revealed by Rodmell Press. Her third e-book is titled Hip-Wholesome Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Information to Defending the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Ache (Shambhala Publications). 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 underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and people sextet Crimson Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.



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