The 8 Limbs of Yoga

The great systematiser and theoretician of yoga was an ancient Indian sage and seer by the name of Patanjali. He divided the path of yoga into eight 'limbs', steps or aspects.

1. YAMA: The moral commandments 
(Non violence, truthfulness, non stealing, restraint and religious study, and non covetousness.)

2. NIYAMA: The voluntary vows 
(Purity, contentment, fortitude, willingness to learn and devotion to one's self to achieve 'yoga' or union)

3. ASANA: Physical postures 
A scientific system of exercise and physical discipline that promotes physical and mental well-being.

4. PRANAYAMA: Breath control 
Breathing practises that promote a balanced, less stressed frame of mind.

5. PRATYHARA: Sense withdrawal from the external world into the interior self 
The control of mental energy to preserve personal energy.

6. DHARANA: Concentration of mind on a particular point or object 
Development of the concentration.

7. DHYANA: Meditation 
An uninterrupted flow of concentration, thus correct concentration leads inevitably to meditation.

8. SAMADHI: Self-realisation 
Samadhi is the end result of dhyana; when the yogi becomes at one with the universal.

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