Yoga Philosophy

Eight Limbs of the Yogic Path

Walking the eight limbs of the yogic path is not an easy path. For me, I find it similar to the Golden Path spoken of in Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series. Many will attempt the path and few will follow it. It’s like following the ten commandments in the bible or the seven noble virtues in Norse paganism, they are guidelines to help bring you into balance with the rest of nature.

I had to translate the eight limbs into a language that I can understand and follow and I came up with the following:

1. Yama:

The five yamas are kind of like moral guidelines to follow.

Ahimsa: Nonviolence – Be kind to others and to yourself

Satya: Truthfulness – Don’t lie to others or to yourself

Asteya: Non-stealing – Do not take from others or yourself

Brahmacharya: Moderation – knowing when to hold yourself back from over indulging

Aparigraha: non-covetousness – Holding your envy in check. Knowing to appreciate what you have and not want for what you don’t.

2. Niyama:

The five Niyamas have to do more with ways in which we can care for ourselves and the world around us.

Saucha: Cleanliness – Keeping yourself clean inside and out. This is about making sure that you care for yourself and the world around you.

Samtosa: Contentment – Being at peace with where you are in your life

Tapas: Discipline – Keeping yourself accountable to yourself and to others. Finding your motivation and using it to keep you going.

Svadhyaya: Know Thy Self – The study of the sacred and one’s self

Isvara pranidhana: Surrendering – Giving up the illusion of control.

3. Asana:

These are the physical poses that you practice in Yoga. There are many different poses but they all have a foundation pose that is used to grow more challenging poses out of.

4. Pranayama:

This is the practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of the energy in our bodies called: prana. There are different techniques that you practice to increase prana in your body such as the three part Ujjayi breath.

5. Pratyahara:

Withdrawing from the senses. Similar to a turtle pulling in all of its limbs to its shell, Pratyahara is withdrawing into oneself to explore an internal state of awareness.

6. Dharana:

Concentration and focus: the point in meditation when you do not allow your monkey mind to chatter at you and allow you to be present in the moment.

7. Dhyana:

Contemplation and meditation: This is the point when you bring the asana, pranayama, Pratyahara, and Dharana together.

8. Samadhi:

This is the point in which you are in a meditative trance when you reach oneness with the universe. You at a point where you are present in the moment and your awareness is in the now. At this point you can call yourself the Kwisatz Haderach.

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