Yoga 101: The Eight Limbs


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

YoginiSome time again, I posted a weblog that sketched out a really primary define of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. After all, we will’t presumably seize the essence of the sutras in a single weblog submit, or perhaps a collection of them. It’s finest after we digest them over time. And it’s even higher after we think about 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 seek advice from. 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 checklist the limbs in a selected 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. Practising 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 dwelling peacefully on the earth. They embody ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (smart use of sexual vitality), and aparigraha (non-greed).
  2. Niyama: The niyamas are private practices that assist us create a wholesome basis for our each day lives. They embody saucha (cleanliness), santosha (contentment), tapas (vitality or dedication to observe), svadhyaya (self-study and examine of inspiring texts) and isvara pranidhana (dedicating our observe 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 observe of controlling and increasing the breath.
  5. Pratyahara: The commonest 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 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 via our senses.
  8. Samadhi: Samadhi is the utterly settled, expansive thoughts.

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

For those who’re taken with 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 every one. There are additionally strategies for methods to observe every one.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and started instructing in 1986. Charlotte is the creator of Aware Yoga, Aware Life: A Information for On a regular basis Follow and Yoga for Meditators, each printed 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 folks sextet Purple Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.



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