8 Limbs of Patanjali

 ‘’ 0 becomes 8 ’’

Ashtanga - Patanjali - The Path

Patanjali the Father of Yoga, was the first one to write the first Yoga Treaty with his Yoga Sutras  200 years A.D. Patanjali defines yoga as yoga chitta vritti nirodhah – yoga is the cessation of the thoughts in the mind. Chitta is the place in our mind where our thoughts reside, and vrtti is the modification of this. It is the development of our thoughts that creates a or desire and brings us out of our natural state of peacefulness. Ashta is the Sanskrit word for eight. If we think about it 8 is also the number representing infinity. The second part anga translates to limb, fold or part. Continuing my previous stream of thought, zero also becomes 8 if we fold or twist it. So, this is suggestive that the path to infinity and realization, is along the lines of the 8-fold path. Patanjali’s yoga sutras describe an eight-fold path to help cultivate a life of meaning and purpose, to free the physical body from its permanent constraints of adaptation with the external environment and the emotional body, will allow the connection between the body and the mental.

The 8 limbs of Yoga are the following: 

1.     The Yamas: These are constraints, moral rules of the society and individuals’. Without it, will reign chaos, violence, lies, theft and greed. These include Ahimsa (non-violence), Saty (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (abstinence) and Aparigraha (non-greed).

2.     The Niyamas: This is discipline, meaning rules of conduct for the individual. These are Sauca (purity), Santosa (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of Sutras) and Isvara pranidhana (meditation).

3.     The Asanas which are not only gymnastic exercises; they are postures bringing solidity, health and lightness of limb. A stable and beautiful position gives mental balance  and prevents the unsteadiness of mind. 

4.     Pranayama: Prana means breath, breathing, life, vitality, wind, energy and strength. Ayama means length, expansion, elongation or restraint. It represents, the time, the expansion of the breath and its control.

5.     Pratyahara, in which the 5 senses are controlled.“IF THE REASON OF A MAN SUCCUMBS UNDER THE PULL OF HIS SENSE, HE IS LOST”

6.     Dharana: ,Meaning total concentration on a unique point.

7.     Dhyana. Meaning contemplation.

8.     Samadhi: This is union, integration. When you finally reach the final stage of Ashtanga, your focus will be merged and transcend your ‘self’. You will feel the connection to the source, the divine  will feel a connection with all living things. These realizations will give you feelings of bliss and fulfilment as you are at one with the world. All of these limbs of yoga do work off one another. When you commit to it fully, you will understand life’s true purpose. Feelings of joy, abundance, and inner fulfilment along with the freedom to find out who you are without the mind trying to interfere. This is what is called Samadhi (Enlightenment/ liberation), and that is what yoga does when you honour all aspects of it.

Should I do it or should i not?

For some, just by reading you might think ‘’Oh, I cannot do this, or that, I disagree’’ and you will reject it at once, because you will feel as if you are restricting yourself or you think it is a lot of work to abide by ‘’rules’’. Keep in mind though, that is your ego talking and not the true self.  Other may feel like this is the natural path and it is only logical to follow, because the self remembers. So, what if you take it into consideration? What if you would give it a try? There is a path leading to the cessation of suffering. This is ancient knowledge, which is still alive and has living proof, once you open all eyes and make a conscious choice to see it. Most of the yogis and their students do follow Patanjali. Some people even follow such a path without even having studied the sutras, and that is because their body, their soul remembers that wisdom and what is real. Truth will lead you to where you’re looking to ‘’go’’; back to your ‘’self’’. ‘’Start turning the wheel for you and the rest will follow!’’

Related Posts