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Yoga 101: The Eight Limbs

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

Yoga 101: The Eight LimbsSome time again, I posted a weblog that sketched out a really fundamental define of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In fact, we will’t presumably seize the essence of the sutras in a single weblog publish, 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. At the moment’s publish 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 consult 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, based on the sutras.

Whereas the sutras checklist the limbs in a selected order, they aren’t hierarchical. They’re not like a ladder with eight steps. As an alternative, all of the limbs feed into the entire, sort 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 planet. They embrace ahimsa (non-harming), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (smart use of sexual power), and aparigraha (non-greed).
  2. Niyama: The niyamas are private practices that assist us create a wholesome basis for our every day lives. They embrace saucha (cleanliness), santosha (contentment), tapas (power or dedication to observe), svadhyaya (self-study and research 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 flexibility 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 observe. 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 observe.

If you happen to’re occupied with studying extra, my e-book Aware Yoga, Aware Life: A Information for On a regular basis Observe, outlines the Eight Limbs and goes into element about every one. There are additionally options for methods to observe every one.

About Charlotte Bell

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

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