Ashtanga- 8 Limbed Path

The eight-limbed path is described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutrus (ancient yoga text). Asana (the physical practice) is just one of the limbs of yoga. It’s okay if you only are practicing the physical part of the practice! In time, Ashtanga offers you a way to integrate all 8 limbs. (in our modern culture, we don’t have the luxury or time to meditate in the forest all day like the first yogis in the Himalayas)

Here is a brief description of the Eight Limbs…

Eight Limbs of Ashtanga:

 1. Yamas- oberservances and behavious which regulate how we relate to others.

  • ahimsa: nonviolence

  • satya: truthfulness

  • asteya: non-stealing

  • brahmacharya- celibacy (modern translation: monogamy, respect, attainment of vital energy)

  • aparigraha: non-possessiveness

2.    Niyamas- commitments to ourselves, principles of daily life.

  • saucha: purity

  • santosha: contentment

  • tapas: self discipline

  • svadhyaya: self-study

  • isvara pranidhana: devotion to God/Higher power.

 3.    Asana- posture (physical practice)

 4.    Pranayama- breath control

 5.    Pratyahara- withdrawal of the senses

 6.    Dharana- concentration

 7.    Dhyana- meditation

 8.    Samadhi- bliss