Susan Morgaine March 1st, 2017
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
The eight limbs of Yoga are based upon the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which is the foundation of modern yoga.
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The are as follows:
1. YAMA – Universal Morality
2. NIYAMA – Personal Observances
3. ASANAS – Body Postures
4. PRANAYAMA – Breathwork/Control of Prana
5. PRATYAHARA – Control of the Senses
6. DHARANA – Concentration & Inner Awareness
7. Dhyana – Devotion/Meditation on the Divine
8. SAMADHI – Union with the Divine
As the author of the Yoga Sutras, and much about Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of medicine), Patanjali’s life is a mystery. His name, broken down means – Patan = falling leaves; anjali – palms joined in prayer, as in the anjali mudra, also known as prayer pose. It is believed that he lived at some point between the 5th century BCE and the 4th century CE. It is also believed that he came to us only to teach the knowlege and wisdom of yoga. TheYoga Sutras have been translated into 45 languages., and there are many different interpretations.
The Yoga Sutras begins, “With great respect and love, now the blessings of Yoga instruction are offered”.
And, so, we will begin with the YAMA’s…….
Ahimsa – “Loving Kindness” Ahimsa is being non-violent. It means to not cause injury or harm to another, whether they be human or animal; it includes doing no harm to your own self, as well. It is the absence of violence in your body, mind and spirit. Ahimsa is considered to be the foundation of all that follows.
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Satya – Satya is the Sanskrit word for “Truth”, and so the Satya Nama means to commit to truthfulness. We must be very careful what we say and how we say it. If the truth were to hurt someone, then it is best to stay silent, so as to not conflict with Ahimsa. Be aware that truth, the facts, do not change; however, opinion and judgment, which are not necessarily true, do change. Weigh your words.
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Asteya – Do not steal. Take nothing that is not yours, nothing that is not freely given to you. Do not live to just acquire *things*, do not hoard wealth, do not buy what you do not need. In this society we have all become takers. It is time to give back, donate to a worthy cause, reduce your carbon footprint, be generous, and be grateful for that which you have.
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Brahmacharya – Take literally, this would mean “celibacy”, or celibacy outside of marriage and fidelity within. Some look at it as learning to have more control over our desires, whether it be sex, or chocolate. All things in moderation. Take the time to question if this is something you *truly* want and need, or just something you think you want and need. Do you have to have sex with this person you just met; or do you really need that piece of cake. Become aware of your innermost desires.
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Aparigraha – Non-attachment; non-possessiveness. This is learning to let go of that which we no longer need, whether it be that statue you keep on your bureau, to a thought or relationship that no longer serves in a positive manner. Let it go and move forward.
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Until next month….
Namaste & Blessings