These are the 8 limbs according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, also known as the Yogic Path.
1. Yama - Abstinence or regulation
2. Niyama - Observance
3. Asana - Posture Practice
4. Pranayama - Breathe Control
5. Pratyahara - Sense Withdrawl
6. Dharana - Concentration
7. Dhyana - Meditation
8. Samadhi - Contemplation, or absorption into the super conscious state.b
In our last blog post we covered. "What is yoga?" The literal translation as well as in context to our world today. In summary, the purpose of yoga is the unification of your self as a single personality with pure consciousness.
According to the Sutras, these 8 limbs of yoga is the yogic path to that Unification. Known as Ashtanga yoga, not to be mistaken with Ashtanga Vinyasa those are two complete different concepts.
We will dive deeper into all of these limbs within the next few weeks. But for now, According to the Sutras, the most effective method of using this path is to start from 1 and go in order to 8. That doesn't mean that someone can't reach enlightenment or samadhi from choosing a different path but this is the safest and most effective.
The idea is to move from the outside in. In yoga we like to say from the grosser levels to the more subtle levels of our being. We start on the physical body, move on to breathe, senses, thought, to reach the most subtle level of our consciousness.