The Eight Limbs of Yoga

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

The term Astanga refers to “the eight limbs of yoga”, which are described in Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras.

“Astanga Yoga Is Patanjali ” – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois


External Limbs

  • Yama – social ethics “restraints”
  • Niyama – personal ethics “internal restraints”
  • Asana – posture, sitting
  • Pranayma – breath regulation
  • Pratyahara – internalization of the senses, “drawing back”

Internal Limbs

  • Dharana – focus, concentration
  • Dhyana – maintaining a focus, meditation
  • Samadhi – complete absorption

There are three types of disease: body disease, mind disease, and nervous system disease. When the mind is diseased, the whole body is diseased. The yoga scriptures say “Manayeva manu ā ā kara a bandha mok ayo (this verse may be transliterated incorrectly),” the mind is the cause of both bondage and liberation. If the mind is sick and sad, the whole body gets sick, and all is finished. So first you must give medicine to the mind. Mind medicine: that is yoga.

K. Pattabhi Jois
{26 July 1915 – 18 May 2009}

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