Comprehensive Guide to 8 Limbs of Yoga

8 Limbs of Yoga

The word yoga means to unite. In other words, it helps unite your mind, body, and spirit. In the long run, this helps you connect with the true self and supreme consciousness.

But, how do you connect with the universal consciousness and break free of the worldly bonds? Read further to know the answer.

The 8 Limb of Yoga

As per Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, there is an eight-fold path or 8 limbs of yoga which leads you to the ultimate goal of liberation. It is known as the Ashtanga 8 limbs yogic system.

Time for us to check out what these eight limbs are.

Yama – Restraint, Moral Discipline and Vows

This aspect of yoga includes the practices and discipline concerned with the world around you and your interactions with the world. The daily practice of yoga helps increase physical strength and flexibility, not to forget it also calms down the ever-pacing mind.

Now, according to yoga tradition there are a total of five yamas namely:

  • Ahimsa (Non-Violence)
  • Satya (Truthfulness)
  • Asteya (Non-Stealing)
  • Brahmacharya (Right Use of Energy)
  • Aparigraha (Non-Greed)

Keep in mind that yoga is a practice of transforming every aspect of your life. If you are able to take control of your behavior and how you use the energy, it will benefit you in the long run.

Niyama – Positive Duties / Observance

The second limb of the yogic path, Niyama refers to the duties which you have towards yourself. You can also consider external actions towards the world as part of Niyama. There are a total of five Niyamas namely:

  • Saucha (Cleanliness)
  • Santosha (Contentment)
  • Tapas (Discipline or Burning of Desires)
  • Svadhyaya (Self-Study)
  • Isvarapranidaha (Surrender to Higher Power)
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Niyamas are practiced mostly by those who want to progress on the yogic path as these help you build character. You should enroll in a certified 500 hour yoga teacher training in India to understand this aspect of the yogic tradition.

Asana – Yoga Postures

The third limb of yoga tradition and the physical aspect of yoga lifestyle which helps you move nearer to the goal of liberation. However, keep in mind that asana is not just about being able to practice challenging yoga asanas.

The word Asana means seat. This refers to the seat you take for the practice of meditation in yoga. One thing you should keep in mind is to maintain a steady and comfortable posture in yoga.

The idea is to be able to sit comfortably so you do not experience unnecessary pain and discomfort due to an uncomfortable position.

Pranayama – Breathing Techniques

The word Prana refers to the sacred energy or life-force present in every living being. In other words, it describes the very energy which keeps you alive.

Put simply, the word Pranayama can be understood as Prana which means breath and Yama which means control. The act of practicing different breathing techniques during yoga session changes your mind for the better.

Every single breathing technique initiates a deeper change in your state of being. Pranayama is one of the most important aspects of Ashtanga 8 limbs of yoga system.

Pratyahara – Sense Withdrawal

The word Pratyahara is broken down into two parts namely, Pratya which means to withdraw and Ahara which refers to anything you take in by yourself through sight or smell.

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When sitting for a meditation session, the first thing you do is focus on drawing in. This practice of drawing in can include focusing on breathing. In other words, this limb of yoga directly relates to Pranayama.

However, the practice of Pratyahara changes your state of mind when you become so focused that outside distractions are no longer able to distract you.

Dharana – Focused Concentration

Dharana refers to focused concentration. The word Dharana is broken down into two parts. The first part Dha means holding or maintaining, and the second part Ana refers to other or something else.

Dharana and Pratyahara are vital parts of the same aspect of yoga tradition. For you to focus during yoga, you must withdraw the senses to focus all attention on one point of concentration. Enroll in the certified 500 hour yoga teacher training in India to understand everything about this limb of the yoga tradition.

Dhyana – Meditative Absorption

The seventh limb of the yoga tradition is where you are fully immersed in the object of focus in meditation. Every technique and method which you learn from a yoga teacher helps you settle, focus, and concentrate during yoga session.

Always remember, the practice of meditation is not something you do actively but a spontaneous action that happens as a result of everything else.

Samadhi – Enlightenment

The final step in every yoga practice is Samadhi, also known as enlightenment. Once you are able to improve relationship with the outer and inner world, you enter a state of eternal bliss.

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However, this state does not means you remain abundantly happy, but realize life as it is in front of you. The ability to see everything with an equal mindset without being drawn into the debate of likes-dislikes, love-hate is what actual bliss is.

It is more about seeing life and the world as it is and without the lens of thoughts, emotions, likes, dislikes, pleasure or pain. But, reaching this state is no cakewalk as you have to be free of attachment, aversion, desire, or habit, and possess a completely pure mind. It is the final yet the toughes of all the Ashtanga 8 limbs of yoga to achieve and experience.

However, for you to understand all these 8 limbs of yoga, you have to enroll the right yoga teacher training program.

Tips to Find the Right 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training

Keeping that in mind, given below are a few simple tips to find the right YTT program.

  • Find a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher training
  • Research on lead yoga teachers
  • Check out the yoga anatomy teaching classes
  • Research the YTT history
  • Choose the best learning hours

Make sure you follow these guidelines to learn all about the 8 limbs of yoga from a Yoga Alliance certified 500 hour yoga teacher training in India.

Conclusion

Want to dive deeper and understand yoga beyond its physical aspects? You should look for the Ashtanga 8 limbs of yoga training program at a certified yoga school.

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