8 Limbs of Yoga

yoga-art-2by Maggie Anderson

So much activity and anxiety exists in the world. So much can be relieved from practicing all forms of yoga. Yoga is not just the physical asana practice but encompasses many elements for a mind, body and soul connection. In ancient Yoga traditions they were aware of the transformation of the body as inevitable and set up a beautiful complete practice of yoga called the 8 limbs of yoga.

I’ll explain in brief the 8 limbs of yoga. By following these 8 limbs of yoga you are consciously preparing your body for the Kundalini awakening process that follows. This builds up your physical body, your mental body and spiritual body’s with prana and the necessary energy to withstand and go through the inevitable changes that will occur once Kundalini awakens. Yoga provides mental, physical and spiritual benefits. It’s an all-around balanced practice (sadhana).

The eight limbs of yoga are described as follows:

1. Yama: Universal morality or restraint (outside ourselves with others). Both the Yama’s and Niyama’s have five characteristics, rules or laws that are considered the ten disciplines of yoga. Yama’s five characteristics of moral behaviors towards others are as follows: 
• Ahimsa – Compassion for all living things 
• Satya – Commitment to Truthfulness 
• Asteya – Non-stealing 
• Brahmacharya – Sense control 
• Aparigraha – Neutralizing the desire to acquire and hoard wealth

2. Niyama: Personal observances or discipline (inside ourselves). Nyama’s five inner moral guidelines for oneself are: 
• Sauca – Purity 
• Santosa – Contentment 
• Tapas – Disciplines use of our energy 
• Svadhayaya – Self study 
• Isvarapranidhana – Celebration of the Spiritual

3. Asanas: Body postures

4. Pranayama: Practice of breathing exercises and control of prana

5. Pratyahara: Control of the senses or withdrawal. A non-attachment so that the world is not a distraction to the inner self.

6. Dharana: Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness. The ability to focus on something uninterrupted by external or internal distractions.

7. Dhyana: Devotion, Meditation on the Divine. Building upon Dharana so that the focus is no longer on one thing but all-encompassing.

8. Samadhi: Ecstasy, bliss, Union with the Divine. This builds upon Dhyana to transcendence or enlightenment.

I am happy to recognize that what I have included in my books How I Found My True Inner Peace, and Divine Embrace as guidelines that have worked for me and as my offering to assist us in a smooth transition to awakening to full self-realization, is very much in line and similar with the 8 limbs of yoga.

Of course I frame it in a more modern way with funny quirks of my own self. It is after all my expression that I offer. I am rather happy to have found this out after having written this book series. It is a true testament that we are One with the Divine and connections are happening at deep levels. When you start to connect within yourself, and may have already, you will see and feel the deep connection deep inside. You will receive those synchronicities and signs to help you along
The 8 limbs of yoga truly are wise. This ancient wisdom offers us the knowledge that may have seemed hidden but has been here all along. The ancient yogi’s came to this knowledge. As have I, you too will come to this wisdom from within even if you don’t have the guidance of the 8 limbs themselves. Suddenly, it all makes sense and you are there. They help you through and allow you to realize it does balance out and you will naturally evolve as we all will.

Maggie Anderson is a Yoga & Spiritual Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher, Integrated Energy Therapy® Master Instructor, Soul Coach®, Past Life Coach, Magnified Healing® Master Teacher and Angelights Messenger. She is the author of How I Found My True Inner Peace and Divine Embrace. You can contact Maggie at SpiritualCompassConnection.com.

“Follow Your Bliss. It’s Your Spiritual Compass.”