Funny I wish I had eight of many things: Eight million dollars…Eight brains…Eight arms.. but Eight limbs of yoga? Never really gave that much thought..
…….So now I journey into the Eightfold Path…..
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the Eightfold Path is called ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs” See I said Eight arms!!!
The eight steps act as a guideline to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They also serve as a direction for moral and ethical conduct as well as self-discipline. The eight limbs of the eightfold path are meant to direct attention toward one’s health; with this they can help us to recognize the spiritual aspects of our life.
Yama is your attitude towards others and the world around you.
Niyama is how you treat yourself or your attitude towards yourself.
Asanas/ Physical Poses
The Asanas are designed to free our mind and body from tension and stress. The asanas relax, rejuvenate, and energize the body. Another goal is to bring the body and the mind into union. Asanas should be done with comfort and ease that can help one achieve a balance.
Pranayama is the control of breath. The breath is regulated and controlled through the practice of breathing exercises performed during yoga (or alone). The duration of inhalation, retention, and exhalation of breath is regulated with the aim of strengthening and cleansing the nervous system and increasing a person’s source of life energy. Pranayama can help you to become a calmer and more focused person.
Prathayara/Withdrawal of the Senses
This occurs during meditation when you are focused on your Yoga and meditation can help you to focus inward and you are no longer distracted by outside events.
Dharana is training the mind to focus without any distraction.
Meditation is focusing the mind on one point, stilling the mind in order to perceive the Self, almost an uninterrupted flow of concentration. It can heighten your awareness.
This is the ultimate goal of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. It is characterized by the state of ectasy and the feeling that you and the universe are one. It is a state of peace and completion, awareness and compassion with detachment.