The Eight Limbs of Yoga

"By the practice of the limbs of Yoga, the impurities dwindle away  and there dawns the light of wisdom, leading to discriminative discernment." - Yoga Sutra II.28 (Trans. by Sri Swami Satchidanada)

The Eight Limbs of Yoga (Astanga Yoga) are part of a system of classical yoga called  The Royal Yoga (Raja Yoga).  The eight limbs were first recorded by the sage Patanjali in Ch. II.28-Ch. III.4 of  The Yoga Sutras. There are many translations and commentaries available. Check out your local library for a copy.  

The eight limbs are called “limbs” because like limbs of a tree they are connected by common roots and they grow at the same time. In other words, the first limb doesn’t have to be perfected before moving on to the second; they can be practiced simultaneously. 

The 8 limbs are:

1. Yama (restraint; self-discipline) 

2. Niyama (observances)

3. Asana (yoga posture)

4. Pranayama (breath regulation)

5. Pratyahara (turning inward)

6. Dharana (concentration)

7. Dhyana (meditation)

8. Samadhi (ultimate union)