The Eight Limbs of Yoga

written by Anjula January 31, 2014

While many think of yoga as a good form of exercise, it is also recognized for providing systematic and definite steps to realization of God-union, called the eight limbs of yoga. In the Yoga Sutras, the ancient sage, Patanjali recommends an 8-limbed system referred to as Ashtanga to rid oneself of kleshas (obstacles). These are Patanjali’s thoughts for living a better life through yoga. The Yoga Sutras provide one with clear steps that enable the individual to work on uniting the soul with Spirit in a way that is both beautiful and concise…so much so that generations of scholars have acknowledged the Yoga Sutras as the foremost ancient work on yoga.

That said, you won’t find any yoga posture descriptions in the Yoga Sutra, rather you will find 195 sutras compiled that remind the reader that there is more to yoga than just postures. Yoga has the ability to help you cultivate your body, mind and spiritual awareness.

Patanjali’s Eightfold Path of Yoga:

1. Yama (moral conduct): noninjury to others, truthfulness, nonstealing, continence, and noncovetousness

2. Niyama (religious observances): purity of body and mind, contentment in all circumstances, self-discipline, self-study (contemplation), and devotion to God and guru

3. Asana: right posture

4. Pranayama: control of prana, the subtle life currents in the body

5. Pratyahara: interiorization through withdrawal of the senses from external objects

6. Dharana: focused concentration; holding the mind to one thought or object

7. Dhyana: meditation, absorption in the vast perception of God in one of His infinite aspects — Bliss, Peace, Cosmic Light, Cosmic Sound, Love, Wisdom, etc. — all-pervading throughout the whole universe

8. Samadhi: ultimate bliss, superconscious experience of the oneness of the individualized soul with Cosmic Spirit

Samadhi is the ultimate goal of the eightfold path to yoga. This is pure contemplation, superconsciousness, in which you and the universe are one. The eight limbs work together: The first five steps — yama, niyama asana, pranayama, and pratyahara — are the preliminaries of yoga and build the foundation for spiritual life. They are concerned with the body and the brain. The last three, which would not be possible without the previous steps, are concerned with reconditioning the mind. They help the yogi to attain enlightenment or the full realization of oneness with Spirit.    


----

Support the Monkey


If you do any shopping at Amazon, please use the Amazon link below to help support Levitating Monkey.  Commissions from your purchases are crucial for us to continue to provide you with the content you love.

Supporting the Monkey costs you nothing – but it is dependent on using our Amazon links. To make it easy, we’e recommended some of our favorite Ayurvedic products in our articles and interviews. Check them out and you’ll help keep the lights on here at Levitating Monkey.

Thank you!

Click here to go directly to the
AMAZON.COM Homepage
Summary
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
Article Name
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
Description
Yoga can help you cultivate your body, mind and spiritual awareness. In this article, we discuss Patanjali's 8-limbed system to rid oneself of obstacles.
Author
1 comment

You may also like

1 comment

The Practice of Santosha | Levitating Monkey December 15, 2014 at 4:59 pm

[…] entire philosophy of Yoga, the eight fold path, is deeply rooted within the above ideas, as the central theme of Yoga is all about finding […]

Leave a Comment