21 Jul Let The Eight Limbs Of Yoga Guide You
The 8 Limbs of Yoga is a lense in which you can view and interact with the world. It is a framework to guide you into living your life the yogic way, promoting love and connection with your inner Self and all beings.
The 8 Limbs of Yoga are Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Each as a predecessor to the limbs that follow, learning about each in turn can help you to understand how make a positive impact on your life.
Yamas and Niyamas
Yamas and Niyamas are the philosophies or ethical laws of life. They stem from ancient values from Indian traditions but are still just as appropriate when applied in our current society.
The Yamas reflect ways in which you interact and relate to the wider society as a broader concept. Yamas help us think of ‘the bigger picture’. We are considering ourselves as functioning elements in this active world.
Although they interlink and impact one another Niyamas are different from Yamas as they exist on a more personal and internal level. They are the morals that guide our own intuition and allow us to act on account of our true inner Self.
Asanas are the physical postures practice in yoga. This is the most commonly practiced limb which has been popularised by modern culture. The physical movement of the asanas helps to condition the muscles, strengthen the bones and move prana energy around the body.
Although asana practice brings many benefits to the body and value to the mind, it is in essence a means to an end. Traditionally performing yoga postures is purely to prepare the body for the following limbs; the process of moving into a deeper state of meditation.
Pranayama is the act of breathing. It is not just any breathing, it is mindful breathing that can be done in various ways to enhance its qualities. Performed in combination with asanas or as a stand alone practice, pranayama sets the scene for moving on to the next limbs. It creates mental clarity and promotes calm as a way to establish greater connection with the consciousness.
Pratyahara is the process of drawing the senses inward. It is a way to release distractions and still the mind. The prior limbs all support you in reaching this point. Moving your awareness from the external to the internal is an effective and beneficial way to move into a nourishing meditative state.
Maintaining your internal awareness can sometime prove difficult. This is especially so when you are trying to meditate in an environment that is noisy, disruptive or unpredictable. Dharana is employed to hold you awareness still. It means concentration. It is the act of maintaining your focus to intensify your experience and progress you on your journey towards meditation.
Dhyana is meditation. It is a state of consciousness that is deeply connected with your inner Self, your life force, your soul. In Dhyana your impersonating ego mind and distracting thoughts are silenced. A deep state of prolonged meditation is attainable with the help of the preceding limbs.
Samadhi is the ultimate level of meditation. It is when your consciousness is at such a high frequency you experience the blissful state of Enlightenment. Samadhi is a place of pure ecstasy where honest joy, true happiness and peace is realised.
Understanding the 8 limbs is a great way to navigate the trickier moments in our modern day world. They are there to support our mental and physical practices, with the ultimate goal of honest joy and pure happiness in all that we do. Keep the 8 Limbs of Yoga in your mind and let them guide your intuition throughout your day to enhance your experience of life.