The Eight Limbs Of Yoga

Yoga is often mis-labelled as a variation on fitness regime and in the west the media portrays yoga as super-fit practitioners in lycra in varying shades of contortions.

Yoga is over 5000 years old and the word literally translates to 'union'. The yogic lifestyle is actually a combination of many practices that help the practitioner to aid the union of the mind, body and spirit - of which yoga poses are just one!

There are 8 main practices or 'limbs' of yoga that are recognised in most schools.

1. Yama - Right action (Non-violence, truthfulness...)

2. Niyama - Self discipline (Study, discipline and surrender to practice)

3. Asana - Posture (Yoga poses!)

4. Pranayama - Breath work (There are many forms of breath work used in Yoga)

5. Pratyahara - Withdrawal of the senses (Mindfulness of body and mind)

6. Dharana - Focus (Concentration)

7. Dhyana - Meditation (The mind is prepared and quiet for meditation)

8. Samadhi - Bliss/Enlightenment (Complete peace!)

These eight limbs of Yoga were put together by the great Patanjali, who also wrote The Yoga Sutras (well worth a read if you get a minute) and they describe the life a yogi is to follow when venturing out on the Yogic path. We are all at different stages of our journey, however it's important to know that Yoga is not just a good stretch at your local fitness - Yoga is an ancient and well-trodden path that will lead you into the discovery of The Self at the highest level.

Now you know all about Patanjali's 8-limbs, why not incorporate a few of these points into your life? 10 minutes of meditation and mindfulness per day is proven to improve nearly every health complaint known to human-kind. Or why not try cutting down on meat and dairy to improve your Karma in Ahimsa (non-violence)? There's lots to explore and a big world out there!

Enjoy Yogis!

Namaste x


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