The Eight Limbs

Written by the Sage Patanjali, these eight limbs of union (Ashtanga Yoga) form the foundation for the Raja and Hatha yoga practices we know today. This is not a step-by-step program,  but rather a guide for the life long practice of yoga. 
 
 
YAMAS  ( To control or restrain).  These are things we do to get along in society. Usually divided into five parts.  1. Truthfulness.( Satya)  2. Non-violence.(Ahimsa)  3. Non-stealing.(Asteya) 4. Non-possessiveness. (Aparigraha)  5. Moderation in all things. (Brahmacharya).
 
NIYAMAS (Observances) The things we do to improve as individuals.   1.Purity and cleanliness.(Shaucha)  2.Contentment.(Santosha) 3.Practices that improve the body, mind and senses.(Tapas) 4.Study of knowledge of self.(Svadhyaya)  5. Dedication to God.(Ishvara-pranidhana
 
ASANA. The physical posturing of Hatha yoga. There are hundreds of postures, most can be placed into one of the five basic groups. Forward bends, Back bends, Twisting, Balancing and inversions. 
 
PRANAYHAMA.  The practices that develop control of the breath. Prana is energy, vitality, strength and life. Control of the prana includes  the inhalation, exhalation and retention (Kumbha) of the breath, which may be practiced with full or empty lungs.
 
PRATYHARA.  The practices allows us to turn inward, deminishing the sights and sound of our surroundings, allowing a deeper state of concentration to develop.
 
DHARANA. Concentration
 
DHYANA.  Meditation
 
SAMADHI.  A state of joy, peace and bliss.
 
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