May 15, 2013

Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga

The science of yoga was known and practiced as far back as 40,000BC, but not clearly documented until AD200. The physician-sage named Patanjali systematized and codified the science of yoga into eight limbs. The name given to this text is Yoga Stutra a kind of map that suggest yoga is not just asana and meditation but also attitudes and behaviors to help you chart your own course to contentment. The Yoga Sutra is specifically designed to lead to greater happiness and spiritual fulfillment for you and everyone around you.

The eightfold path of classical yoga or ashtanga yoga suggests a program of:

Ethical restraints or abstentions (yamas) Non-violence, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, To move towards moderation, Non-possesiveness

Lifestyle observances (niyamas) Purity, Contentment, Self-discipline to generate heat or light, Self-study/Self-observation, Dedicating all actions to God

Postures (asanas)

Breath control (pranayama) the breath is the bridge between the body and the mind

Withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara) is used as a powerful tool to retrieve our attention that is stolen by external disturbances during the practice of asana.

Concentration (dharana) is used to bring retrieved attention to focus on bodily sensations, this anchors the mind and helps us experience the present moment.

Meditation (dhyana) is established in witness consciousness.

Absorption into the Divine (samadhi) the yogi experiences total absorption where all doing disappears and being appears. It is the experience of oneness with our Higher Self.

The practice of Amrit Yoga integrates all limbs simultaneously.

The practice of any one of the eight limbs of yoga in the absence of the integrative power of witness can be ego motivated and separative. None of the stages of Ashtanga Yoga can be truly practiced with its spiritual depth or trans-formative power without the practice of remaining the unbiased observer to all that is happening.

May this help you deepen your practice.

 

 

Breath, Relax, Let Go!
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