The Eight Limbs of Yoga

The Eight Limbs of Yoga form a structured framework for living happily, healthily and peacefully in all aspects of daily life. They are practical guides for personal development; for achieving harmony of mind, body and spirit, eventually leading to Samadhi or enlightenment. The significance and purpose of each limb is concerned with a different aspect of daily living. You can work on one limb and as your understanding broadens, move on to the next.

The eight limbs consist of Yamas and Nyamas, (the not-to-do’s and the to-do’s of everyday living),  Asanas (postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (control of the senses) and Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi the preliminaries to meditation and enlightenment.

Patanjali suggests that dedicated and sustained practise of the eight limbs will lead to deeper self knowledge, love and respect towards other people and creatures, a cleaner environment, healthy diet and union with the divine.

1. Yamas (abstention from evildoing) 

2. Niyamas (personal observances)

3. Asanas (postures)

4 . Pranayama (control of the prana)

5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind from sense objects)

6. Dharana (concentration)

7. Dhyana (meditation)

8. Samadhi (absorption in the Atman)