A blog series on the 8 Limbs of Yoga…

As a review the eight limbs of yoga, as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are as follows:

  1. Yamas (external/social ethics)
  2. Niyamas (internal ethics)
  3. Pranayama (breath work)
  4. Asana (physical postures)
  5. Pratyahara (turning inward/withdrawl of senses)
  6. Dharana (concentration)
  7. Dhyana (meditation)
  8. Samadhi (connection/blissful union to source)

No one limb is any more important than the rest.  Picture it like a tall tree, with its many limbs.  Samadhi would be the top limb, pointing high up to the sky, but it cannot exist with all the other limbs that get you there. 

Our second limb is the Niyamas (nee-yamas).  Niyamas are referred to a the moral observances, they are how you treat yourself; activities and habits for a healthy, enlightened spiritual existence.  Like the Yamas, the Niyamas are broken down into 5 elements:

  1. Saucha
  2. Santosha
  3. Tapas
  4. Svadhyaya
  5. Ishvara Pranidhana

Saucha means cleanliness.  Sure, yeah, yeah, you think, take a shower every day, got it. But it is cleanliness not just of body, but of mind and thoughts.