The 8 Limbs of Patanjali
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras outline the principles and practices of classical yoga. While they don’t refer to “limbs” in the physical sense, they do describe an eightfold path known as the “Eight Limbs of Yoga.” These are guidelines for living a meaningful and purposeful life. Here they are:
Yama (Restraints): These are ethical principles for how one should interact with the external world. They include Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy or moderation), and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness).
Niyama (Observances): These are principles for self-discipline and personal observances. They include Saucha (cleanliness), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (self-study), and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender to a higher power).
Asana (Physical Postures): This limb refers to the practice of physical postures and poses that prepare the body for meditation.
Pranayama (Breath Control): This limb focuses on breath control and regulation to enhance the flow of prana (life force energy) in the body.
Pratyahara (Sense Withdrawal): Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses from the external world and turning one’s attention inward.
Dharana (Concentration): This limb involves developing the ability to focus the mind on a single point or object, which is a preparation for meditation.
Dhyana (Meditation): Dhyana is the state of deep meditation where the mind becomes still and focused.
Samadhi (Absorption): Samadhi is the ultimate goal of yoga, where the practitioner experiences a profound state of oneness with the universe and a deep spiritual realization.
These eight limbs provide a comprehensive framework for individuals seeking a balanced and meaningful life through the practice of yoga.