We hope you have enjoyed learning about the 8 Limbs of Yoga that we have been sharing with you in our weekly blogs. The 8 Limbs of Yoga is a way of life and has been our inspiration at OM Matters, not only in the way we run our business, but it is the design of our eco-friendly yoga clothing line. It guides us in our journey to live a more soulful and meaningful life and leads us to the understanding that everything is interconnected. It encourages us to be mindful of all our actions, because our actions do matter: WE ARE ONE.
Below is a brief summary of the 8 Limbs of Yoga outlined in Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras:
LIMB 1: Yamas
The first limb is yamas: ethical principles that clarify one’s relationship to the world and everything in it. The yamas emphasize our connection to others as an integral part of yoga—everything is interconnected. They break down to five practices, which define our personal integrity:
- Ahimsa – non-harming
- Satya – honesty
- Asteya – not stealing
- Bramacharya – wise use of creative energy
- Aparigraha – non-possessiveness
LIMB 2: Niyamas
The second limb is niyamas: internal disciplines that teach us to respect ourselves—body, mind, and spirit. They are forms of self-discipline as well as reflective practices. The niyamas break down to five habits:
- Saucha – purity, cleanliness
- Santosha – contentment, gratitude
- Tapas – discipline
- Svadhyaya – self-reflection
- Isvara Pranidhana – devotion
LIMB 3: Āsana
The third limb is āsana: the physical practice of yoga. Of the 196 verses in the Yoga Sūtras, a mere 2 are dedicated to poses, but the practice of āsana is invaluable to cultivating a sublime meditative state. By linking breath with movement, asana teaches us to embody steadiness and ease.
LIMB 4: Prānāyāma
The fourth limb is prānāyāma: the focus on the breath. Prānāyāma enables us to cultivate our very life force (prāna) through various techniques that teach us to relax and control our breath…creating divine conditions for health in the body and peace in the mind.
LIMB 5: Pratyāhāra
The fifth limb is pratyāhāra: the withdrawing of the senses, so that when we feel, hear, see, taste, and smell we let go of reacting. By abandoning the countless distractions of day-to-day life, the mind focuses inward and is free to move into meditation.
LIMB 6: Dhāranā
The sixth limb is dhāranā: strict concentration on one object or task, a state in which there are no distractions. Thus, when you are enthralled with the object of your concentration, all hindrances disappear.
LIMB 7: Dhyāna
The seventh limb is dhyāna: meditation, a state in which you experience the sacred (what is personally sacred to you) through a deeply focused awareness. Through the practice of dhyāna, we begin to see reality for what it really is: impermanence. This is how we ultimately achieve bliss.
LIMB 8: Samādhi
The eighth limb is samādhi: the culmination of practicing all the other limbs of yoga which brings you to an understanding of truly knowing and feeling that everything is interconnected. The clinging mind has ceased; there is only the experience of indescribable joy. A liberated soul can thus enjoy pure awareness and harmony.
You can learn ways to incorporate these practices in your life at http://www.om-matters.com/pages/the-daily-practices-of-yoga.
We are one!