What are the eight limbs of Yoga?
Yoga is the art of creating union between mind, body and spirit. It is governed by an eight fold path called eight limbs on which it works, emphasizing the importance of each and ruling out superiority of one over the other. These eight limbs of Yoga are-
YAMA: rules of conduct which deal with our attitude towards things and people other than us and are further broken down into five characteristics-
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
NIYAMA: rules of personal behavior that deal with how we behave with our own self based on five principles-
Sauca - Purity
Santosa - Contentment
Tapas – Disciplined use of our energy
Svadhyaya – Self study
Isvarapranidhana - Celebration of the Spiritual
ASANA: physical postures which help in providing strength, agility, balance to mind and body
PRANAYAMA: breath control and regulation to help encompass the strength that lies within us and use it accordingly for a calm and energetic mind and body
PRATYAHARA: control of senses by helping to draw back from external pleasures and attachments thereby helping us to build up our emotional balance and strength
DHARANA: mind control so that it can focus in one direction thereby instigating inner healing
DHYANA: meditation by religiously focusing on one divine and become integrated with the object of one’s worship thereby realizing that death need not be feared.
SAMADHI: absorption as in to merge and go beyond consciousness stressing on the importance of unconscious mind.
These eight limbs of Yoga thus enable a person towards physical, emotional and spiritual growth and attainment.