Chart: 8 Limbs of Yoga

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OM window at Omlink Yoga Studio, West Harrison, New York, USA

OM window at Omlink Yoga Studio, West Harrison, New York, USA

patanjalis8limbs-alison-hinks-yogadork.jpg 1,584×1,224 pixels.

Please click the link above to view the chart showing the 8 stages, limbs of hatha yoga as prescribed by Shri Patanjali.  Thanks to Alison Hinks for creating and sharing this vital visual tool for Yoginis and Yogis.  Namaste

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99 responses »

  1. In viewing the “8 Limbs of Yoga” chart, I made several interesting observations. First, the Yamas (or restraints) reminded me somewhat of the 10 Commandments of Christian religion, or the “golden rules” of human interaction. However, I have never heard of Yama 4 (Brahmacharya), and am interested to learn what it means, perhaps at some point in class this semester. Second, the Niyamas (or observances) all made perfect sense to me and are all practices that I know are crucial to the practice of yoga, although I had never seen them defined so specifically. Third, I was surprised to see that while pose, breath, withdrawal of the senses and intense focus are categorized as “things you do,” a state of meditation is classified as a “thing that happens to you.” I had always thought that a meditative state was something that one could consciously do with practice, but the chart illustrated to me that rather than a person going directly into a state of meditation, it is something that can only be achieved through the four “things you do:” pose, breath, withdrawal of the senses and intense focus. Meditation happens to you rather than being something that you can just do.
    – Elizabeth Rowland

  2. The 8 limbs of yoga are an excellent way of organizing and categorizing the steps to self discovery and true bliss through the experience of oneness. By practicing the “limbs” that are under the bracket of “things you do” one will find that they are changing their karma and the limits of their reality. There is no way someone can be perfect at meditation or feel a state of complete oneness the very first time they try to be mindful. It takes lots of practicing yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayamas, pratyahara, and dharana to be energetically capable of feeling dhyana and samadhi. I know that I am not perfectly enlightened nor am I perfectly disciplined in these practices. However I have observed through my practice the progress I have made and the rapid increase of bliss and self-awareness that has been a result of what I have done.

  3. When observing the “8 Limbs of Yoga” chart, my main concern was my unfamiliarity with the terms. I am very interested to learn more about what each of the restraints and observances fully mean in context. The restraints remind me of laws in America. I feel as if they bring safety to the body. With this feeling, I allows myself to be at peace and achieve happiness easier. The observances to me seem to be the positive consequences of the “laws”, or restraints. By following the restraints within the yoga practice you can achieve the observances. I think that this is a very proper way to confide yourself fully in the yoga practice and to feel comfortable in the setting of it. As the chart continues onto, “the things you do”, I was surprised to see “intense focus” as something you do and to see “state of meditation” as something that “happens to you”. Before looking at this chart, I would put intense focus into things that happen to you and state of meditation into things you do. However, after observing and thinking about what intense focus and state of meditation mean, it seems practical to put them in the categories they are in on the chart. Intense focus is something you do because it takes concentration and brain power to do it. A state of meditation is something that happens to you because it can only be accomplished by pose, breath, withdrawal of the symptoms, and intense focus. Overall, this chart gave me a new perspective on the limbs of yoga and I feel as if I have grasped a better understanding of all that the yoga practice entails within the body.

    -Caitlin McCarthy

    • Thanks for a well written and honest comments. I am sure all of your concerns and questions shall be answered this semester…its a good place to start being aware of your doubts…OM

  4. I find the Yama’s interesting because they are basic moral codes that everyone should live by but are often overlooked. I have little knowledge of the various yoga poses, and I am fascinated by the fact that one can become fit without the use of weights. I’m not totally sure what is meant by, Ishvarapranidhana (surrender) but I sure I will soon. I haven’t learned any breathing techniques, but I can see how they can help to achieve a state deep of meditation. I’ve heard that focusing on the word “om” can help to redirect ones focus during intense meditation and I am intrigued to learn more words that can do this as well. The chart definitely makes achieving a state of oneness look easy, but I know all good things take time and practice.

    -Christopher Sharrett

  5. Like Elizabeth mentioned, the “Eight Limbs of Yoga” chart reminds me a lot of, not just the Ten Commandments, but guidelines most humans follow on a day-to-day basis. It seems from the chart that without one of these steps to a state of oneness (Samadhi), it seems the rest of the limbs are unreachable. I am interested what context “Ishvarapranidhana” means by surrendering, and am interested in learning more about this stage of Niyamas.

    • Thanks David for your comments…surrender comes in many forms as just by registering for this course you have surrendered an aspect to learn some more yogic experiences…how much you surrender will directly impact the return you receive. Namaste

  6. After studying this chart, I’ve come to learn many things. This class is my first experience with yoga, and I am slowly discovering how much of an effect it can have on my life. I am learning that this practice not only will greatly effect my body, but have an even greater effect on my mind and being than I imagined. The “Yamas” are like guidelines for a wholesome way of living with other people. The “Niyamas” are also some sort of guidelines, but for living with the self. Then “Asana,” “Pranayama,” “Pratyahara,” and “Dharana” are very specific things one practices during yoga, that can then be practiced during all times of one’s life. The “Things That Happen to You,” Or “Dhyana” and “Samadhi,” seem to be things one should strive to achieve, once again not only during the practice of yoga, but during one’s everyday life.

  7. I find it very interesting I have never seen the “8 Limbs of Yoga” but I find myself very connected with the intent of this chart and find it it something that I would like to keep up with and use as a reminder in finding the state of oneness. I find this yoga chart connects with the four noble truths and the eightfold path which did not surprise me being that it is more a way of life that Buddhists and yogis/meditators share. I’m also curious as to what the different is in this chart between “intense focus” and “meditation”. Intense focus on a certain thought or intense focus on your breathing? Also what kind of practice of meditation? That was a bit confusing for me.

    • Jillian, I hope that you may stay with this course and in due time you will begin to learn more about hatha yoga. There is only Raja Yoga/Meditation in the hatha yoga lineage. There are a variety of practices that prepare and set the context for entering into a meditative experience. Namaste

  8. I think the individual steps which ultimately lead to a state of oneness are a great way of describing the ideal process involved in yoga. From this chart, it is clear that yoga is not about physical fitness but rather about the mental states which are intended to be derived from the physical poses. The clear distinction of things you do and things that happen to you is also a nice way to illustrate the benefits of the actions one performs in a yoga practice.

  9. Like others have said, at first it’s surprising that meditation is something that happens to you, but after reading the chart once more it does make sense that you make your mind focus, and meditation is the result of that. So focus is the action, and meditation is the result that happens. I see the chart as a progression, where if you follow the steps of restraints and observances and the steps afterwards, you’re able to achieve oneness. It makes the idea of oneness seem more attainable and possible. The yamas and niyamas also seem really accessible, in that they’re not rules or restrictive, but seem like basic ways to improve yourself and your life. The idea of practicing these steps strikes me as calming and things I would be very capable of doing.

  10. I think the 8 Limbs of Yoga Chart represents 8 healthy states of being. The process of working your body into a state of relaxation mimics the idea to your brain, infiltrating your deeper logic. The first and second stages include opening the heart and softly closing. I find each step to be releasing somewhat, the first and second including surrendering and looking inwards beyond limitations and the need to take from the external world (non-harming, non-stealing, non-hoarding.) These organized steps seem very helpful in the process of achieving internal freedom and deep relaxation.

  11. When I first looked at the 8 Limbs of Yoga I was a bit overwhelmed, as none of the words were familiar to me. Yet after taking a closer look at it I became calmer in that I saw the stages in a better way. From the third to the sixth stage I am able to identify with the positions at it is some things we have begun to do in class. I find it really fascinating that the stages are listed as “things you do” as we are the ones in control of it. I find it a bit intimidating, yet exciting that the power of oneness will be something “that happens to me” as I see it as a power that is greater than my own self.

  12. I find that the 8 limbs of yoga are steps in the process to achieving true relaxation and peace. I believe that when people take on the opposing qualities of the yamas it can bring destruction about and I think that there is a yama that is particularly difficult for each person to follow. Aparigraha, non-hoarding is one that really stuck out to me because I seldom think about getting rid of anything I own.

    -Deja Raymond

  13. In the Chart: 8 Limbs of Yoga my first impression was that the only word I was familiar with was “Ahimsa.” This word was a key principle in Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings and it means “the principle of non injury to living beings.” It is so interesting that it is a key characteristic of Yoga as well. When looking closer at the terms listed under “restraints” and “observances” they all seem to depict essential parts of living a peaceful and healthy life. Some including, non-lying and non-stealing, even remind me of strong components in Christianity. These overlaps show that some things are taught universally to lead to a calm and peaceful life. When looking at the actual poses and what they mean, I noticed in particular the “withdrawal of the senses” pose. This pose out of all of them is one most if not all people do everyday as they are about to go to sleep. Laying down is such a natural state and its interesting that it is also a key pose in Yoga. -Antoinette Berns

    • Gandhi knew many languages and ahisma is a Sanskrit-root word that folks learn who study Indic/Sanskrit languages as well those who study the philosophy of hatha yoga. We humans have much commonality and the more we explore and look for what we have in common the list is endless…here’s to our Oneness! OM

  14. I found the 8 limbs of yoga interesting because often the true ideals of yoga are lost and less focused how yoga can calm the mind. I hope to practice these ideas of yoga (non-harming, non-stealing, non-hoarding) more as I learn more about them. I hope I can achieve deep relaxation by practicing these values.

    • When we set intentions and focus upon them, we set the stage for our blossoming into these thoughts as reality…we become what we think…we become what we meditate upon…OM

  15. First of all, I am very happy and appreciative to have the “8 Limbs of Yoga” on a page that I can refer to because some things are unfamiliar so to have sort of a guide is very helpful. In the past when I’ve done yoga, on my own or with a friend and never in a class, it was mostly for before and after exercise which helped immensely. However, I had never seriously experienced yoga until now and I’ve definitely gained a greater respect for it. These “8 Limbs” when carried out at your own pace, are like steps to finding your individual state of relaxation. The self seems to be a key but not in a selfish manner. Beginning with Yamas or restraint and moving to Niyamas which are observances, I find these first two “limbs” to be the most important personally. Not only do both of these help prepare for the poses and continuing steps but learning how to practice or how to recognize self restraint such as non-stealing, non-hoarding, and non-lying and learning how to be self aware, can all be carried with you outside of yoga and applied to everyday life. I’ve discovered that since starting yoga, I’ve been able to link some small yet positive changes in how I approach certain situations to the awareness and challenges of Yamas and Niyamas. Overall, the “8 Limbs of Yoga” chart is very interesting and will be helpful for future reference I’m sure.
    -Emily Gregorek

    • I am impressed with how you are able to explore these concepts with your own experiences and your aspirations for this semester. So looking foward to sharing yoga with you this semester and witnessing your growth….OM

  16. The Eight Limbs of Yoga at first seemed very intimidating because I am not familiar with the phrases or how to pronounce them. The Yamas section is the restraint section in which one should follow these 5 rules to live a healthy and self-aware life. Yoga is not only an exercise but it is a way of life that affects your perspective on the world. These steps to reach the “state of oneness” remind me of the Buddhism class that I am currently in. The eight limbs mirror the Eightfold Path, which is also steps for how one should live his or her life. In following the Eightfold Path and living by the Four Noble Truths, one could potentially reach nirvana and be enlightened. I’m looking forward to see how Buddhism and yoga will continually interconnect throughout this semester.

    • I’m sure you know that the Buddha was Indian and reached his samadhi in India…there are many connections between Indian hatha yogic philosophy and Buddhism. In yoga we use our physical form as a tool to align ourselves with natural currents: balancing all aspects with the realization that we are apart of the entire cosmos…our subjective ego/mind is what keeps us separate and unwell. OM

  17. The first of Pantanjali’s limbs of yoga seems to be the release of external ties to the physical world. The act of restraint is control against something that could be harmful. The five listed can be seen as vices or sin, lying and stealing are inherently wrong and hoarding is the unnecessary clutter that cloud the mind and the spirit. Yamas seems to address the problems of the external world of things by confronting the maladies of things. Possessions we breathe life and memory into but can quickly consume us. The next limb, Niyama, confronts the internal and basic needs that are reiterated in religions like Islam and Christianity. Purity is derived from the observances illustrated in this limb: cleanliness, contentment, zeal, self-study and surrender. These observances call for self-reflection and self-care. The barriers of our reality make it hard to reach this part of ourselves, they make it hard to take care of not only our minds but our bodies. It is difficult to remain clean and satisfied in a world that is polluted and glorifies instant gratifications. I want to learn how to channel the negative out and reinforce elements that make me feel fresh and alive. Limbs 3-6 are elements of yoga I feel like I have routinely passed through in yoga without fully enveloping myself in or understanding. I mimick the poses of those leading the class forgetting to adjust my body to them. I try to track my breath but always want to be in sync with the person next to me. Is that normal? Is wanting to share a communal breath needy? Even when I feel like I have found my space in the poses and breath my senses are heightened and my thoughts are racing. Can this also be a space of meditation? The last stage, Samadhi, seems like the final stage of these physical and mental acts of realization. But all these steps must be cyclic and apart of the everyday process. We fall in and out of realization with all the changes and circumstances of life.

    -Geovanna Borden

    • You raise important issues/questions here and as you continue to practice and unravel and realign your energies I think you may find the space, permission, and all your answers will be revealed from deep inside of yourself….everything you need has been carefully place inside your being and you just need to learn how to harness tools to unlock your treasures….OM

  18. Looking at this chart, I was surprised to see such clear guidelines. It is all very straight forward and clear cut. What really stood out to me were the first two “limbs”, Yamas and Niyamas. Although most of the points listed under them are almost basic human “rules”, they can be easy to neglect. It’s very easy to let sadness consume you and cause you to neglect some of these tenets. It makes me happy to see that yoga isn’t at all what people usually say, and that it really encourages you to take proper care of yourself, physically and emotionally. It’s very encouraging and I’m hoping that I can turn to this when practicing at home, and remember to be content and self-reflect constantly.

  19. Throughout the 8 limbs of yoga, there are words that I cannot pronounce, but the pronunciation isn’t necessary. The 8 limbs of yoga, are human things, that can be overlooked, but are universal. Just like smiling is universal. Each position has it’s purpose. It’s interesting. I Wonder if there are mutual positions that share the same purpose. For instance, ” Withdrawal of the senses” Could that be achieved while laying on your stomach instead of your back? -Brittany Petronella

  20. At first I was a bit afraid of the chart because I had never seen the words or terminology before and thought it might be confusing. Looking further, its explained in a simple process that while easy to understand, is harder then appears and is something that I look forward to the challenge of. The limbs chart starts with the basics of living a yogi life, the observances and restraints and following the flow goes into practices that lead to a state of meditation and ultimately oneness. Coming into oneness is a mental, physical, and educational process that is easy to neglect, but with determination and a thoughtful mind is not just essential to becoming a yogi, but to becoming a better person.

    • Please do not be confused, just remain open and patient it will all come together the more you practice in class and your home practice of the Isha Kriya…everything will be revealed to you Crystal Clearly! OM

  21. I appreciate the breakdown of the chart and recognizing the things that I have done so far in class and in outside practice. However I have not really touched upon Dharana and Dhyana in the practice I’ve done but so look forward to learning more about it and putting it to use!

    • This chart show the progression of the yogic practices and must be followed sequentially for success, there may be some time in a couple of months that you may have these experiences…please do remain patient….OM

  22. in the chart showing the “8 limbs of yoga” I observed a somewhat growth throughout the chart. It seems that the chart in a whole portrays different ways to channel yourself into these steps of yoga, learning to ultimately become in a ‘state of oneness’, or Samadhi. The initial sections discussing the yamas and niyamas have sub-sections portraying restraints and observances. As this being my first class it is confusing, but I’m eager to learnt the meaning behind these sections. – Michael Nicolo

  23. I found the chart to be an excellent refresher to what Yoga is about in entirety. I really appreciate how the practice of yoga is seperated into individual sections of importance which come together to form an intricate practice and lifestyle. Since i’ve done yoga recreationally i found some parts very recognizable, including the “Asana” and “Pranayama”. Now i realize what yoga consists of and i am very interested to see the affects, and how one can reach Samadhi.

  24. the chart was very interesting to me and it basically showed that the ultimate goal was to become one with yourself. Through the different levels you gain control, you come to understand your body and the different concepts. it seems like you are in a way letting everything go and just being.

  25. I find the 8 limbs of yoga to be very interesting. While the first two “limbs” are slightly confusing I find the general progression and path of yoga to be very inspirational. I struggle with anxiety and self doubt and I believe that yoga will be very helpful for me in my life. I enjoy movement and find the idea of finding contentment through the yoga positions both useful and doable. Though I’m not sure how far along in the yoga journey I will go I’m looking forward to this class giving me the tools to find myself and find inner peace. I’m hoping to become a better person through the discipline and the concentration of yoga.

  26. What I first notice about the chart is the order of the limbs of yoga. The process of following the 8 limbs will ultimately lead you to self enlightenment. The chart symbolizes the spirituality of yoga and what you gain by following the practice. You reach a higher level through each limb fully embodying the yoga practice.

  27. I found this chart very interesting because I have done yoga and meditation both together and separately and felt how smoothly the two tie together. Although yoga offers much more than just good exercise, I’ve found that rigorous practices, such as vigorous vinyasa, have in combination with the other steps in this chart, helped me reach a calm state of mindfulness that can be far more difficult to obtain solely through meditation. It is helpful to see these steps laid out to describe something I have felt in the past in my own practice.

    • You may notice something different happen this semester as this course follows Classical Indian hatha yoga as prescribed by Shri Patanjali, beginning at step one and following each step successively. OM

  28. This chart is a great layout of the stages and practices of yoga. It gives one the understanding of not only how to begin using the first 2 ”limbs” but also it shows the potential of what doing these 8 stages can do to you and your body. It is very common for people to be blinded and held back from things like sadness and uncleanliness and it is important to start off by trying to turn those things around so we can achieve that control and focus. The sense of ”oneness” is something we can all achieve through this process

  29. It’s easy to think of yoga as “poses.” However, this chart shows how poses, or asanas, comprise just one limb of the practice of yoga. The yamas and niyamas encourage you towards a mindset in which dyana and samadhi are possible. Dyana and samadhi are not practices that stop and start, like the physical components of yoga, but a continuous way of being that allows the mind to be more open to dyana and samadhi. Asanas, pranayamas, pratayahara, and dharana, on the other hand, are practiced as a ritual. The rituals seem to allow the body and mind to synch up and work harmoniously. I have never experiences dyana or samadhi after this practice, but I have definitely experienced a state of peace and…vastness, after attempting these four limbs of yoga, so maybe that is a start. As I’m sure many people have, I used to see yoga as another physical exercise to “tone” or be fit. It’s very inspiring to me to begin to learn all the elements that comprise yoga.
    -Jessica Williams

    • Do know this chart establishes the manner in which one should learn Indian classical yoga, step by step and there is no general guidepost for time for completion and success before one is ready for the next step…one person may move through all steps in 6 months and another 60 years….Namaste

  30. Looking at this chart, specifically the pictures of the 8 limbs, immediately reminded me of a personal experience involving yoga. I spend my summers working at a summer camp and we have a certified yoga instructor who comes to work with the kids. This year I had a rambunctious group of 8 year old girls who were very prone to tantrums and being extremely hyper. During each yoga sessions the instructor started us with warm ups, then some poses, then a short age appropriate yoga game, and at the end of every session the children us counselors laid flat on our mats just like the photo of pratyahara and were told to close our eyes as the instructor guided us through five minutes of breathing and relaxation. When this was over, every single child who participated was transformed into a calm, relaxed state (even the ones who cried beforehand about how they didn’t want to do yoga). If yoga can have this effect on a group of 8 year olds who are unaware of these 8 limbs. then the possibilities are endless for adults with knowledge and understanding of yoga. -Annalea Trask

  31. I am very interested by this chart, but wonder how far the restraints can be applied. For instance, does non-lying apply to white lies or things we feel we need to conceal and does non-harming mean only in a deeply moral sense? As for non-hoarding, I wonder how that can be applied to also living a prosperous life in terms of career, for isn’t becoming successful, in essence, hoarding excess capital and spending it on personal luxuries considered hoarding what one could share to others? In addition, under the category of Niyamas I wondered if zeal for yoga could be replaced with other calming or exercise related activities and if that was a preference based category. I only raise this question for I find that people can have personal preferences in terms of release outlets. Then again, this chart only refers to Patanjali’s perspective, so this might just be a display of one possible route.

    • This is a rudimentary chart to how to weave the full measure of classical Indian hatha yoga into ones fiber…once taking steps on this Path all the answers will unfold from deep within each person’s core who decides to practice regularly and seriously. OM

  32. It is interesting to note that the yamas, or methods of self-restraint revolve around the individual’s ability to refrain from practicing harmful actions not only to others, but to themselves as well. This is evident in the declaration that one should not hoard, or possess an attachment to non-essential material objects. This is particularly interesting, as typically we think of how our negative actions affect others, but it is important to remember that our unhealthy behaviors have an impact on ourselves as well. The ability to recognize and purify our actions not only towards others, but ourselves as well, is fundamental in our understanding of the nature of goodwill.

  33. I like that this chart is very straight-forward and simple. As a beginner, I appreciate that the yoga process is made clear and easy to understand. While I assume that every part of this process is not as simple as it seems, I like that there are structured steps to reaching the ideal state of yoga. Hopefully more people will use this chart as a reminder to their daily life approach whether or not yoga is a part of their lives.

  34. I found this chart very interesting and I liked the fact that it used both the specific yoga terms and then a clear picture and description of the step. The chart was visually pleasing and easy to follow and I am interested in learning more about steps 1 and 2, Yamas and Niyamas. I also find it interesting that hatha yoga has so much to do with your daily practices and state of mind and being, as well as meditation and the physical practice of yoga.

  35. As a current yoga student I was very interested to see that the things I thought were the “most important” aspects of yoga i.e. the stretching and breathing were very early stages in what the ultimate end of the process seems to be according to the chart. I also thought that each “restraint” was an excellent concept in and of itself and I was impressed by the bigger picture painted by each restraint and each observance. They make a lot of sense, and these in combination with the process of posing, breathing, stretching, withdrawing one’s senses, focusing, meditating, and finding oneness create an involving but ultimately priceless and beneficial process.

  36. In the introduction of The End of Sorrow by Eknath Easwaran, the focus again is on the Gita. Easwaran discusses the history of the Gita and it’s guidance in it’s followers self realization. Easwaran talks of how we as people are constantly focus on the pursuit of “pleasure for joy” and “profit for security” but with the help of the Gita in our daily living we can be one with others and let go of our selfish pursuit of only one’s self worth. This introduction discuses how one needs others and and vice versa and we as people cannot go around thinking only of ourselves. One reference he uses to express this thought is Jacques Cousteau’s saying of “We forget that all life-cycles are one. Enviroment species, of man for example.” Even in the worlds of Philo of Alexandria “Households, cities, countries and nations have enjoyed great happiness when a single individual has taken heed of the good and beautiful. Such men not only liberate themselves: they fill those they meet with a free mind.” In essence, the need for people to come together as a whole is one of the way the one can use the teachings of the Gita to bring themselves closer to self realization. He then discusses how one can begin on this path by following the Eightfold Path of Mediation, Japam or silent repetition of a mantram or holy name, in the mind, Slowing oneself down in our daily lives, keeping one’s mind one-pointed or concerted on one task or duty at a time, training our senses to be obedient servants, putting others first, reading your scriptures and staying associated with spiritually oriented people.

    I’m going to keep reading and posting because this book has already begun to enlighten me after a couple of pages of reading.

    Kollie

    • Great you have begun to read and make your journal entries. I think it may be easier for us both if you simply printed out your journal notes to submit in class. Do list the pages/chapters that you are making reference to, thanks. OM

  37. Upon observations of this chart along with the yoga and meditation we have been doing in class, all steps; especially the first two, seem rather self explanatory but it is nice to see the steps defined and in order. it also makes sense to me how the posing and breathing as well as the intense focus draw your attention to your body thus creating a sense of oneness. in fact, one can almost stay in a constant [but low] state of meditation because the first two steps can be done at any time.

  38. What I noticed when looking at the eight limbs chart is how the first stage, Yamas focuses on restrictions like ahimsa while the second stage, Niyamas focuses on observances. By looking at this chart, I believe that each stage is supposed to bring you closer to oneness. By first releasing the first two stages you begin poses, which brings you to start focusing on your body awareness and eventually working towards meditation.

  39. When I think of Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga, I am reminded of the patience required to experience true bliss. I think of Patanjali’s 8 limbs as a wholistic approach to the removal of maya illusion. Sometimes, when one simply sits in meditation, they still remain under material influence and need to look more towards the beginning steps of the 8 limbs to find liberation.

  40. Every spiritual belief seems to espouse a moral code which doesn’t seem to surprising. Religion’s at their core at very simple to follow. Love, do good, be good, think good. There’s really nothing to it other than living a clean, moderate life filled with nonviolence, which you would think is easy for some people but in fact it’s not at all. Buddhism, besides the Eightfold Path has the 5 precepts which is often expanded into 8 and 10 precepts, which reminds me of this immensely. From my own brief studies on Masdism, they subscribe to a three-fold path: “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds.”. And then from http://www.religioustolerance.org/hinduism2.htm it said that :
    “Hindus organize their lives around certain activities or “purusharthas.” These are called the “four aims of Hinduism,” or “the doctrine of the fourfold end of life.”
    They are:
    The three goals of the “pravritti,” those who are in the world, are:
    dharma: righteousness in their religious life. This is the most important of the three.
    artha: success in their economic life; material prosperity.
    kama: gratification of the senses; pleasure; sensual, sexual, and mental enjoyment.
    The main goal for the “nivritti,” those who renounce the world. is: moksa: Liberation from “samsara” This is considered the supreme end of mankind. ” So the 8 limbs of yoga really encompasses everything the world and relgiions have talked about. None of this should be new to us. However, it’s how we practice these moral values and bring them into our own life. I feel as if we should all know to refrain from evils and toxins of life(perhaps some do not) so what I love about this chart though is that is demonstrates the postures we take when practicing yoga and illustrates that if you keep practicing the simple rules you will get to complete one-ness in oneself. The 8 limbs of yoga isn’t just a mental exercise it becomes a physical one too. In christianity, you pray to god, but with yoga and the yamas you are praying to you and a calling onto something “higher” that doesn’t have a personified face to it as God/Jesus.

    • True Classical Indian hatha yoga is not a religion….yoga means to yoke,join make one….praying implies submission…we are reuniting with Oneness…the Divine…which we temporarily separate when the mental chatter (fear, anger, sadness, worry and other ego driven dramas take over)…..Namaste

  41. Looking at the patanjalis 8 limbs of yoga, i automatically thought about the advantages of yoga. By doing yoga, you feel a lot better in all aspects. You have to start from the basics of yoga first to feel the full benefits of it. The more yoga i do, the more comfortable i feel with my body. I came to find that i can move more and I am not as tired as i would be if i didn’t do the Isha Kriya everyday. With practice and consistency i feel more refreshed about my self and the moves we do in yoga class.

  42. This graphic was very useful. I could see visually how everything I have been learning this semester fits together. There was all the vocabulary, the yamas, asana, and Pranayama, and things suddenly clicked. I had been learning all these vocabulary words and practicing the poses, but just now it has all clicked together. I hadn’t thought of yoga as a strict linear process, and I supposed it is not necessarily, but seeing it this way makes it easier to see all the steps and processes one has to take before arriving at a state of oneness.
    I also really like how the graphic is set up…”things you do”, and “Things that happen to you,. It simple, but it makes me realize that I can’t get myself into a state of oneness, I can’t even “Meditate”. I can take steps that should lead to meditation and oneness, but there is no guarantee. It must happen to me-it is out of my control.
    I’m excited for class next week so I can think of all these things in this linear way, and see if I have a different experience.

    Katie Gilmartin

  43. The 8 limbs yoga diagram is pretty neat, and definitely reassuring as it concisely displays the factors that go into yoga and what you can get from it, if done with good discipline. It is also helpful as reminder of the yamas and niyamas. Also, if thought about in a deeper manner, which I enjoy doing, it can come to represent the replacement of the limbs (or our interactions with the external world through physical means) with mindful introspection that leads to a stillness which awakening every cell in your body in a harmonious manner. The limbs in this case is made up, in a spiritual and physical way, of the skills attained through each pose, rhythmic abdominal breathing. Thus, the rejuvenating exertion when practiced is what would be known as the fruit of your labor, instead of material it is the ability to transcend through meditation, and its result – oneness.

  44. Overall, this chart was very helpful in aiding mentally organizing the different components of yogic practice. First I feel I must comment on how appealing the arrangement of images, color, and text are. The creator of this chart did a nice job of conveying the eight limbs of yoga. To me, the most valuable choice made was to distinguish things that you do versus things that happen to you. One can understand intellectually that surrendering is an important part of yoga, but I have found that really experiencing this requires a qualitatively different effort. In my experiences, dissecting and analyzing the idea will only increase my attachment to whatever false conclusion I may have come to at the time. Instead of coming up with ideas that satisfy my mind, it would be preferable to let the experience happen to you. This is the way to the last two limbs (Dhyana, Samadhi).

    Another note I made about this chart was about the sequence of images the creator chose while organizing the project. The first 7 limbs are depicted with drawings of human figures, expect for the last one (Samadhi), which is linked to the symbol of OM. To me, this accurately demonstrates how eventually the personal self dissolves into the broader Self.

    – Conrad –

  45. This chart is not only beautiful, but gets across all the information about the eight limbs of yoga perfectly. I think the Niyamas are the most difficult for me in my practice of yoga, and Dharana is certainly challenging if I am completing my own practice. The hierarchy shown in the chart opens my mind to specific steps that will be helpful in my practice going forward. The Niyamas, specifically surrender (as I over analyze and fight my body when it is telling me what it needs), the Dharana as I can often get distracted and let my mind wander during practice, and greater focus on the Pranayama will help my entire practice.

  46. The chart of Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga was illustrated beautifully. The first thing that we can do is the yamas. These are Ahimsa, which is non-harming, Satya, which is non-lying, Asteya, which is non-stealing, Brahmacharya of Brahma, and Aparigraha, which is non-hoarding. These are all the things that we should restrain. I think that if we want our yoga practice to work successfully and in our favor, we should follow this rule by restraining from those practices mentioned above. The next “limb” covers observances, which are soucha, which means cleanliness, santosha, which is contentment, tapas, which is zeal for yoga, svadyaya, which is self-study, and ishvarapranidhana, which is surrender. These are the practices that we should make a part of our life while we are doing yoga. These are essential. For example, we must surrender ourself and be true to ourselves if we want this practice of yoga to make our lives better. The next limb is asana, which is all of the poses we do in class. The next one is pranayama, which is the breathing exercises we are taught in class. The fifth limb is pratyahara, which is withdrawal of the senses. I am not sure if I understand this one fully, but I think this is when we relax each part of our bodies. The next one is dharana, which is intense focus. This makes complete sense because we must try our utmost best to be focused during our yoga practices. This is hard for me personally, but I am working on it day by day with my Isha Kriya. The seventh limb is Dhyana, which means state of meditation. This is an obvious thing to practice while practicing yoga. Yet, it is very important. It is challenging to meditate correctly and consciously. The last limb is Samadhi, which is the state of oneness. I like how this is illustrated as the last limb. I think once we carry out all of these practices or limbs mentioned previously, only then can we reach a state of oneness.

  47. This chart is a great resource, it is clear, concise, and informative. It was encouraging to see the 8 stages of hatha yoga outlined because it made me realize just how much progress toward a state of oneness we are making in class. In our readings for the journals we have covered the 5 yamas relating to restraints and I’m sure we will read about the Niyamas in the future. Previous yoga classes I have taken were focused on the asanas only, yoga was only used as a way to work out. In this class however, the focus is split between the poses, breathing, and philosophy of yoga. We have learned about the history, philosophy and yamas of yoga while learning the appropriate ways to perform asanas in order to use all of our breathing muscles. It has been difficult for me to adjust to all of the different ways of breathing, but when I am breathing correctly I can really feel the change in my body. When this class ends, I will have all of the knowledge required to advance through stages 1 to 6 of hatha yoga. If I am able to begin observing the 5 yamas and continue the work we are doing in class: the asanas, breathing, withdrawal of senses, and intense focus, the only stages left to conquer will be 7 and 8, Dhyana and Samadhi, which fall under the category of “things that happen to you”. I think Dhyana, the state of meditation, can be achieved by continuing to practice the Isha Kriya daily. However, to reach Samadhi, a state of oneness, I think I will need to practice yoga properly for more than a year.

  48. Brianne Malloy
    Yoga Tools for Relaxation and Peace

    Feb 3 2014
    The purpose of the eight limbs of yoga is to describe the step by step process of getting to a state of oneness. The first limb consists of the five yams witch we learn in other posts according to the readings of McAffe’s book. Learning the Yamas is a wonderful first step because if ensures that the person following these steps in yoga is initially coming from a morally sound place. The second limb, or the Niyamas are described on the chart as observances where as the yams are described as restraints. once you are getting away from harmful temptation you can begin to participate in the positive actions described in the Niyamas such as cleanliness. In the third limb, Asana, we begin to explore and study our bodies as well as the mind through various poses, each with its own reasoning and benefits. In the fourth we focus on breath, Pranayama, a very important step in yoga since one can not achieve true oneness without it. When you Withdraw yourself from your senses and relax laying on your back in the fifth limb, Pratyahara, you become closer to the earth. The sixth limb, Dharana is the last limb that will describe what you do in the yoga. This limb is the state of intense focus that gets you prepared for the state of meditation in the Dhyana, the seventh limb. This meditation in the Dhyana is listed on the chart as something that happens to you not something you do, and this being something that is a result of the rest of the yoga means that you can not jump to the seventh limb without completing the prior six truthfully. And lastly the eight limb, is the overall goal, the Samadhi or the state of oneness.

  49. I’ve never seen a chart outlining Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, and this is such a concise graphic to convey this information. It looks like there is an order to these limbs, especially the last two, though I’m surprised to see Asana before Pranayama in the chart, as the focus on the breath seems to have greater emphasis than the pose in our practice. The distinction between Dharana and Dhyana is interesting as well, especially with the graphic, in reaching a true, elevated state of meditation. I’m curious to learn more about Samadhi, and if this is a perpetual state, or perhaps brief moments of wholeness or oneness. I wonder what a true guru would have to say about it, and what this experience or state is like for those who are able to attain it.

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