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"May the long time sun shine upon you.
All love surround you.
And the light within you guide your way on."

- Irish ballad

THE EIGHT LIMBS OF YOGA

Patanjali, an ancient Yogi-Sage who integrated and simplified the science of Yoga concisely in his Yoga Sutras between 200B.C.E and 200C.E. These sutras can be considered as a collection of aphorisms on Yoga. They are referred to as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and are not the original exposition of a philosophy, but a compilation of work.

The Yoga Sutras are a progressive series of steps or disciplines which purify the body and the mind, ultimately leading the aspirant to enlightenment.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga Consist of the Following Disciplines:

1. YAMA
The five Yamas or restraints are divided into five moral and ethical injunctions, aimed at destroying the lower nature. Yamas may be described as your attitude towards others and the world around you.

No.# Yama Meaning Life Experience
1 Ahimsa Non-Violence In thought or action
2 Satya Truthfulness In word, thought and deed
3 Asetya Non-Stealing Ideas, possessions, or of anything that does not belong to you
4 Bramacharya Chastity Purity in all thought and actions
5 Aparigraha Non-Attachment To material possessions, people, relationships, pleasures, negative situations, memories, goals etc.

The word "Yama" is also associated with the name of the "God of death"; (Yama) which this implies that there must be a dying of all negative and destructive tendencies that lead to ignorance and illusion which is the source of "egoism" attachment and repulsion.

2. NIYAMA
The personal observances are divided into five categories aimed at fostering positive qualities in the human nature. Niyamas relate to the way you treat yourself or your attitude towards yourself.

No.# Yama Meaning Mindfulness
1
Saucha
Purity and Cleanliness Purity and cleanliness in mind and body
2
Santosha
Contentment With all that has been given to you materially, physically, mentally emotionally and spiritually
3
Tapas
Austerity Tapasya implies a self-discipline or austerity willingly expended both in restraining physical urges and in actively pursuing a higher purpose in life. Through tapas, a yogi or spiritual seeker can "burn off" or prevent accumulation of negative energies, clearing a path toward spiritual evolution
4
Swadhaya
Study of the sacred texts Regular study of the sacred texts keeps us mindful of our spiritual goals
5
Ishvanapranihad
Constantly living with an awareness of the Divine presence Remembrance of the Divine presence at all times.

According to Patanjali the Yamas and the Niyamas must be adhered to prior to undertaking the following six disciplines that complete the eight limbs of Yoga.

3. ASANA - Physical postures.
4. PRANAYAMA - Breathing Practices.
5. PRATYAHARA - Withdrawal of the sense in order to still the mind.
6. DHARANA - Concentration in preparation for meditation.
7. DHYANA - Meditation.
8. SAMADHI - Super-Consciousness The highest state of Consciousness attained in meditation. Total absorption with the object of meditation.

Tantrik Yogis focused on only six limbs of Yoga and believed that through the practice of Yoga the Yamas and Niyamas would occur naturally. They did not place emphasis on the Yamas and Niyamas and believed that through the practice of Yoga these attributes would spontaneously occur. They believed that by enforcing the adherence to the Yamas and Niyamas many mental problems would occur due to guilt and the inability to meet the demands of such a rigorous system.

The Tantrik System began with Asana and proceeded through to Samadhi, leaving the Yamas and Niyamas to the naturally develop over a period of time and a dedicated practice.

When the consciousness of the duality of subject and object disappears and only the true nature of the object contemplated remains that is absorption (Samadhi).

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