March 11, 2014 by urbanhealthjunkie
196 Indian sūtras (aphorisms) that constitute the foundational text of Yoga. The 8 Limbs emphasise that YOUR THOUGHTS & ATTITUDES + YOUR CHOICES = YOUR LIFE.
1. Yama Our ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behaviour. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The five yamas are:
Brahmacharya: using sexual energy wisely
2. Niyama Guidelines for self-discipline, self-care and intelligence from the heart.
The five niyamas are:
Tapas: spiritual comitment and self discipline
Saucha: purity, good intention
Samtosa: contentment, enjoying the moment
Svadhyaya: self-reflection and awareness
Isvara pranidhana: open heart, surrender, see the divine in all
3. Asana Calm, healthy body = calm healthy mind. The body is a temple of spirit, through which we develop the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate, both of which are necessary for meditation.
4. Pranayama Prāṇāyām (Sanskrit: प्राणायाम prāṇāyām) “extension of the prāṇ or breath” or, “extension of the life force”. Prana is life force, or vital energy and “ayām”, to extend or draw out.
Refining our personality, gaining mastery over the body, and developing an energetic awareness of ourselves, all of which prepares us for the second half of this journey, which deals with the senses, the mind, and attaining a higher state of consciousness.
5. Pratyahara Making the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli. This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings and bad habits.
6. Dharana To focus our attention on a single point to create space and stillness.
7. Dhyana The uninterrupted flow of concentration. At this stage, the mind has been trained to become quiet and produces few or no thoughts at all.
8. Samadhi At this stage, the meditator merges with his/her point of focus/the Divine and transcends attachment/suffering and instead develops and interconnectedness with all living things.