The eightfold path in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is called Ashtanga, which translates to “eight limbs”. These eight steps act as guidelines on how to live a life full of meaning & purpose. They serve as a guide for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they help to direct attention toward health and they help us to recognize the spiritual aspects of our nature. Below we will explore the Eight Limbs and their meanings:
Yamas– The five restraints – how we live in the world/externally
- Nonviolence – the required gentleness for ourselves and all others required for the first step of peace
- Truthfulness – the honesty to live in connection with your True Self
- Non Stealing – the ability to not take what is not needed and what is not ours from the plant, others or ourselves
- Non Excess – the ability to not withhold but restrain and experience joy in all things with moderation that allows us to keep balance; to walk with God
- Non Attachment – the ability to live without need
Niyamas– The five observances- how we life with ourselves/internally
- Purity- the effort and ability to live with cleanliness in what we allow in and around our mind, body, and Spirit
- Contentment – the choice to life happily wherever one is
- Change- the ability to evolve and flow with the Live Force
- Self Study- living with reflection and effort for self-appreciation and understanding without judgment
- Surrender- to choose to go along for the ride of Life with the Divine
Asana– the physical poses for the body for the process of preparing the body to sit with effortless effort to meditate. The process of taking care of the physical body our Divine dwells in.
Pranayama– the energy that is represented by the breath and connects us to the internal Divine
Pratyahara – the act of sense withdrawal when the body and breathe are settled, the focus and effective in transporting our focus to a place on our breath
Dharana– the complete concentration on an object, mantra or vision with complete focus
Dhyana– the state of deep meditation when we have a connection of oneness with our focus/world
Samadhi- the connection to the internal Divine often defined as total bliss and beyond all other words.
In conclusion, these guidelines can help you to live a life full of meaning and purpose this is just a scratch of the surface into the eight limbs you can learn more in depth at our 8 Limbs of Yoga class on February 2nd. Thank you for reading!