The Eight Limbs of Yoga

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Did you know that yoga is more than just postures and breathing?
Are you interested in drawing inspiration from the ancient philosophy of yoga to see if it can improve your life? 

Yoga is taught to unify the mind, body, soul, and spirit so we can live free, without suffering and is based on ancient knowledge. 

It started with the Vedas, ancient religious texts, and the eight limbs of yoga come from the Yoga Sutras, outlined by a sage called Patanjali. 

The different limbs are meant to help the practitioner to relieve suffering, look internally for truth, connect to the divine, and live as their true self.

The words in Sanskrit can seem intimidating, so here is a list with simple explanations. The eightfold path is called ashtanga in the Yoga Sutras, ashta means eight and anga is limb. 

How do you choose to interpret the eightfold path?

1. Yama

Ahimsa: nonviolence 

Satya: truthfulness

Asteya: nonstealing

Brahmacharya: continence

Aparigraha: non-possessiveness 

2. Niyama

Saucha: cleanliness 

Samtosa: contentment 

Tapas: heat, discipline 

Svadhyaya: study of the self and sacred scriptures

Isvara pranidhana: surrender to the divine

3. Asana

Postures – for discipline, devotion, concentration, and to be able to sit in meditation without aches and pain

4. Pranayama

Control of the breath

5. Pratyahara

Withdrawal of the senses. Attention internally, observe ourselves objectively

6. Dharana 

Concentration. Single-minded focus

7. Dhyana

Meditation – contemplation without focus. Absorption

8. Samadhi

Union. Oneness

7 Tips For A Daily Yoga Practice

7 Tips For A Daily Yoga Practice

H ave you ever had the intention to start a daily yoga practice and began eagerly just to come to a complete stop just a few days afterwards?

I have been there. And during over a decade of practicing and teaching yoga, I have found what does and doesn’t work for me for a consistent routine. So here I will share my tips for a daily yoga practice with you!

1. Yoga isn’t just asana

Sometimes we’re injured, sometimes we’re sick, and sometimes we just don’t want to move. For a consistent practice, it has to be okay to limit your movement every now and then. And yoga consists of eight limbs after all.

Maybe today’s practice is a deep breath on the subway. Not reacting without thinking when someone pushes your buttons. Sitting and breathing on your mat for a few minutes. Child pose, toe sit, malasana. A few stretches in bed. The six actions of the spine. Whatever that makes you take some time to listen to yourself and your body.

2. Turn it into a routine

I’m most consistent with my ten-minute silent meditation. It is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do before I fall asleep. It is a part of both my morning and evening routines, so it goes by itself and helps to keep me grounded in my practice.

Since it’s as normal as brushing my teeth, I start my day off with taking care and listening to myself, practicing asana comes naturally. My body tells me that it wants to move. If your yoga practice is a part of your daily routine, you don’t have to put in the work to get yourself on the mat.

3. Make it easy for yourself

Put a large glass of water next to your bed and drink it first thing in the morning to wake up. Make sure that your mat is where you can see it. Create space in your day for yoga and a place for practice in your home.

Pick out your yoga pants the day before. And if you are not able to bring yourself to your mat just yet, wear them anyway and see if you can inspire yourself to get into your practice. Do a pose when you are waiting for your coffee. Trick yourself into wanting to move more.

4. Find or inspire a yoga friend

Do you have a friend you can talk yoga with? Maybe you can introduce yoga to one of your friends, find someone at your studio, or online. There are so many people who love talking about yoga.

A close friend can help to fuel your inspiration and make you feel more accountable to keep up with your daily practice. And who doesn’t want to have a coffee date after hitting the studio?

5. Do what’s fun

I don’t know about you, but I love inversions. Especially handstands. It’s impossible to keep a straight face when practicing handstands because, at least I, will fall out of it frequently. They make me feel happy and refreshed – I feel like a kid.

What is your favourite pose? Get into it. Do all the prep work and do what makes you smile.

6. Move with your intuition

Do what feels great for you. It’s perfect for your home practice – the space where you are allowed to do whatever you want.

Some days I blast hip-hop and get groovy. I dance and don’t care too much about alignment, which helps my body to be okay under multiple ways of stress and pressure and not just strong within the perfect alignment.

Some days I practice strictly, following the traditional paths of yoga. Other days I sit in silence. Sometimes I move softly. Find what feels great for you today and honour that every day is different.

7. Just do it

Throw away all your excuses and procrastination and step on your mat!

error: Content is protected !!