The 8 Limbs of Yoga

Yoga originated about 5,000 years ago in the region that is now modern day India. Yoga comes from the root yuj, meaning to yoke or to unite. Thus, yoga refers to a state of “union” with the self, the world, and the divine. Yoga refers to both the state of “union” and the practices that help us get there; including, but not limited to, postures (asana), breathwork (pranayama), and meditation.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Have you heard of the Yoga Sutras? Sutra is a stitch of wisdom from the sages. Patanjali was one of those sages, and shared about 196 sutras. Many have translated the Sankrit verses and added to the translation in modern day books on Yoga. Patanjali is a founder of the Ashtanga yoga tradition. Ashtanga translates to “having 8 limbs.” The first sutra summates an auspicious beginning. The Yoga begins Now. Calling us into presence and practice.

“Patanjali begins his discourse on Yoga with the long-held conviction of the sages that a human being is an island of excellence. To be born as a human is the greatest achievement, and to die without knowing the essence of life is the greatest loss.” ~ The Secret of the Yoga Sutra: Samadhi Pada by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

The 8 limbs are shared in the Sutras, along with much more, and are the basis for practice. All limbs are to be practiced together and in some respects, they must be done in order. Yet, you can enter the practice at any limb. Awareness of all 8 limbs is essential to thrive in steady transformation.

  1. Yama – restraints, relationship with external world
  2. Niyama – observances, relationship with internal world
  3. Asana – posture, meditative seat
  4. Pranayama – breath control, restraint
  5. Pratyahara – sense withdrawal
  6. Dharana – concentration
  7. Dhyana – absorption
  8. Samadhi – union/integration

Connection is key.

We tend to focus on the body (asana or postures) in Western yoga. Movement practice linked with breath and sensory awareness is a great first step, yet there is so much more to feeling and knowing you are connected. Gain knowledge and wisdom by practicing lifting the veil of the koshas (sheaths) and you will see this all much clearer.

Connection to innate wisdom, awe, and bliss.

Connection to a higher power, to nature, to self, and to community.

Connection is key.

I am passionate about sharing the interconnected nature of our mind and body, and so much more. I want to showcase our collective wisdom (our excellence!) by holding space for connection, so that we can all flourish in this community and beyond.

Join me for deeper dive into this practice.

Join me for deeper dive into this practice.

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Alison Zuba
Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT)
Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT)
*be the light that lives deep inside you* 

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