The Eight Limbs

In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). The Yoga Sutra is considered the fundamental text on the system of yoga.

  • Asanas:  Postures, States of Being
  • Pranayama: Breathing exercises, control of prana (life force, vital energy)
  • Pratyahara: Control of the senses
  • Dharana: Concentration and cultivating inner awareness
  • Dhyana: Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
  • Samadhi: Union with the Divine, Bliss

Yama: Social Code, External Disciplines

  • Ahimsa: Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings
  • Satya: Truthfulness
  • Asteya: Non-Stealing
  • Brahmacharya: Right Use of Energy
  • Aparigraha: Non-Possessiveness

Niyama: Personal Code, Internal Disciplines

  • Shaucha: Purity, Clearness
  • Santosa: Contentment
  • Tapas: Self-Discipline
  • Svadhyaya: Self-Study
  • Ishvara Pranidhana: Contemplation of the Divine