Yoga means the union of mind body and spirit with the universe. It brings ecstasy and peace to every individual who walks on this path. One’s behavioral pattern thought pattern and attitude towards life change as yoga trains our mind to control our desires.
According to Patanjali the classical yoga is classified as Ashtang yoga which means eight limbs of yoga in the yoga sutras.
Following is the list of limbs of Yoga along with their details to keep your body shape and mind in peace.
1) YAMA (Attitudes Toward Our Environment)
Yama is the first limb of yoga. This is a practice in which one trains his mind to keep himself away from clashes going on in the surroundings.
Some code of conduct should be followed while performing YAMA.
It is commonly known as non-violence, an individual should refrain from hurting any living being in his surroundings.
Following the path of truthfulness, never taking support of lies, and spreading the social message all around.
The practice in which an individual should not steal or have any intention to steal other’s property through his actions.
A practice in which an individual should abstain himself from all sexual activities and stay tuned with one’s soul.
It is a virtue, in which an individual should become non-greedy and non-possessive towards the materialistic life.
2) NIYAMA (Attitudes Toward Ourselves)
Niyama is a practice that is related to one’s body and senses. It is the second limb among the 8 limbs of yoga.
It includes ways from which an individual can improve the inner self. There are five niyamas as follows:
It is the purification of mind and body with the help of yogic practices that also helps an individual to detach himself from the materialistic world and clear all the clutter of negative and baseless thoughts that keep him away from the point of focus.
It practices helping an individual to feel contented in life. Away from all desires, one is satisfied with what they have and goes with the flow in their life.
Tapa means ‘heat’ which comes from fire, burns, suffering, and mortification. This is a practice that includes deep meditation to achieve self-realization. It also includes solitude and asceticism.
This is a practice of self-study. In this, an individual introspects himself and his actions by repetition of mantras and meditation.
- ISHWARA PRANIDHANA:
This is the last niyama, which includes the complete surrender of oneself to the higher force present in the universe.
3) ASANAS (Physical Postures)
The third limb is Asana. According to Patanjali, asana means “sthiram sukham asana” i.e., “the position which is comfortable and steady”.
In present times, people think asanas are only yoga but it is one of the steps towards yoga. In asanas, the body is kept in various positions in such a way that it helps our body to become more flexible, agile, and efficient. Eventually when the body improves our state of mind also improves.
There are different types of asanas which include meditative asanas, relaxative asanas, and corrective asanas. Regular practice of these asanas helps our body to rejuvenate and keeps it away from all the problems.
4) PRANAYAM (Restraint Or Expansion Of The Breath)
It is the fourth limb of yoga. Pranayam is a practice of controlling the breath.
This practice is done along with asanas where each step synchronizes with the breath. There are three components of pranayam, i.e. puraka, kumbhak, and rechaka which means inhalation, retention, and exhalation.
The main purpose of this practice is to connect your body and mind. It helps in removing all the toxicants from the body by inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. It is also beneficial to calm down our brains and heal psychological problems.
The above four steps are known as Bahiranga Yoga which means External yoga.
5) PRATYAHARA (Withdrawal Of The Senses)
Pratyahara is the fifth limb of yoga. It means withdrawal of senses.
When an individual practices this step he gets to know about the external world and he learns to control his sensory organs (5 gyanendriya and 5 karmendriya) which are organs of action and perception.
This practice starts showing an individual the inner world and helps him to understand his mind.
6) DHARANA (Concentration)
The next limb of yoga is Dharna. Dharana means concentration, in this all the thoughts scattered in the mind are bought under control and set at one focal point.
The focal point can be the center of the forehead or the distant bright light. This practice is the first step towards samadhi.
7) DHAYANA (Meditation)
It is the second last limb among the 8 limbs of yoga before samadhi. In this stage, an individual meditates with full concentration, focusing on a single object.
Practicing Dharana for a very long time can bring an individual to the stage of Dhayana. This practice helps in removing all the afflictions from the mind and taking the body on the stage of subtleness.
8) SAMADHI (Complete Integration)
The final stage of ashtanga is samadhi. This is a stage where an individual’s soul unites with the supreme soul. In this, an individual reaches a very steady stage where he has no thoughts about anything. This is a stage where no words can explain this, it’s only the experience that one can feel while performing it.
To sum up, the 8 limbs of yoga are a practical system for self-realization and liberation of mind. It helps in cultivating mind and body to develop inner peace, realize the ultimate truth and liberate ourselves from suffering.
As a human being, we are always searching for the inner peace and true nature of our soul and these limbs of yoga helps us to achieve that goal.
Hope this helped to achieve a peaceful state of mind. Do like and share with the needy.
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