The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Yoga is very much about taking control and responsibility for your own health. Yoga is about controlling the mind, intertwining it with the body. We like to call it active mastery of yourself.
Lotus Yoga Pose

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Illness is a form of imbalance in the body that creates negative energy, which has a huge effect on our well-being. Such things as disease fatigue, laziness, sorrow, despair, anger, being miserable and poor breathing will create this imbalance.

Of course this is an endless cycle – if you are miserable, fatigued and angry you won’t have the energy to change these patterns.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga are steps to help you succeed and achieve perfect health, ready for total well-being and enlightenment.

The Eight Limbs are as

The 8 limbs of yoga

  • 1. A code of universal ethics to be followed, known as the yama
  • 2. A code of personal conduct, called niyama
  • 3. The practice of physical postures,known as asana
  • 4. The practice and control of prana through yoga breathing pranayama
  • 5. The practice of learning to control and withdraw the senses
  • 6. Concentration – learning to still the mind
  • 7. Meditation
  • 8. Enlightenment

Some people think of the Eight Limbs of Yoga as something that you learn in order of progression. This is not the case; all the limbs are important and form part of the integrated system of yoga.

Most people start yoga at step three and learn the poses that exercise and energize the body and relax the mind. After regular practice of this, and perhaps step four, breath control – you will notice other changes are happening.

As you become more balanced and in harmony with your true self, your thoughts and perceptions of life will change, along with your ethics and personal conduct. Your wants and desires will less rule you, and so you move on to step five, the withdrawal of your senses. As your concentration becomes better and your mind calmer, you will be ready for meditation.


Yoga Philosophy Overview