Yoga Philosophy – The 8 Limbs
We often hear Yoga teachers talking about the 8 limbs of Yoga.  What are these anyway?  Maharishi Patanjali outlined the 8 limbs of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras about 2,500 years ago.  The 8 limbs are the stepping stones to enlightenment, or as he puts it Moksha.  While they are generally spoken and taught in a linear manner, they are non-linear.  They are:
  • Yama – The restraint of animal instincts
  • Niyama – Embracing our human nature
  • Asana – Physical practice
  • Pranayama – Breath control
  • Pratyahara – Sensory control/fulfillment
  • Dharana – Concentration/focus of the mind
  • Dhyana – Absorption/meditation
  • Samadhi – Cosmic consciousness
While the 8 limbs are usually taught in a linear fashion they are anything but.  We are ususally practicing more than one limb at a time even if we are unaware of doing so!