Merry Christmas Eve!
I hope you’re spending the next couple of days surrounded by loved ones. As we go into our holiday festivities, I thought it would be a perfect time to share the Eight Limbs of Yoga.
Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga offer a guideline for a meaningful and purposeful life. The eightfold path is called Ashtanga, which translates to eight limbs. Ashta stands for eight and anga stands for limbs.
These eight steps are a guideline but they are a continuous process that should be viewed as a loop instead of an end goal.
- Yama: The first limb focuses on how we conduct ourselves in our daily lives and how we treat others. There are five separate yamas:
- Ahimsa: nonviolence
- Satya: truthfulness
- Asteya: nonstealing
- Brahmacharya: continence
- Aparigraha: noncovetousness
- Niyama: The second limb is more internal and focuses on self-discipline and spiritual observance.
- Saucha: cleanliness
- Samtosa: contentment
- Tapas: heat, spiritual austerities
- Svadhyaya: the study of sacred scriptures and of one’s self
- Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God
- Asana: The third limb, and possibly the most well known, is the physical practice.
- Pranayama: The fourth limb is the breath work which allows us to connect the breath, mind, and emotions.
- Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses is the fifth limb.
- Dhara: Pratyahara sets us up for the sixth limb, which is concentration. We learn to slow down the thinking mind by concentrating on a single mental object.
- Dhyana: The seventh limb is uninterrupted concentration or meditation.
- Samadhi: The eight limb is a state of ecstasy which you feel a profound connection with the divine.
This is just a little taste of the eight limbs and I plan to dive into each individual limb in future posts. But as we dive into the next couple of days I encourage you to consider the first two limbs, yama and niyama, to evaluate how are you treating others and how are you treating yourself.
I hope you’re all enjoying yummy treats and surrounded with laughter today & tomorrow!