When most people think of yoga, they think of holding poses and meditation. However, there is so much more to yoga than just practicing the physical form!
There are eight limbs of yoga. If you want to make the most of your yoga practice, you should try including each of these limbs. Practicing each limb together can awaken your spiritual practice and bring you closer to the final limb, enlightenment.
This article discusses the eight limbs of yoga, including what these limbs are and how you can practice them.
The eight limbs of yoga
The eight limbs are the pinnacle of practicing yoga. Understanding these is the key to connecting with your inner yogi.
The yamas are basic yogic principles and disciplines that set guidelines for treating the world around us.
The five yamas include:
- Ahimsa (non-violence)
- Satya (truthfulness)
- Asteya (non-stealing)
- Brahmacharya (the correct use of energy)
- Aparigraha (non-hoarding)
How to practice the yamas
Abide by the five yamas by practicing these important disciplines daily.
In Western Culture, asanas are the most direct part of modern yoga.
How to practice postures
Daily postures like sun salutations or other yoga flows are great ways to practice your asanas. Most yogis say if you make it to the mat for at least ten to fifteen minutes daily, you are putting enough time into your asanas to make an impact.
Niyamas (duties or observances)
The niyamas are critical tools for improving your quality of life. They were invented by the Indian Sage Patanjali with the central aim to improve self-confidence and make you happier.
How to practice the niyamas
The niyamas are core values. Therefore, the key way to practice these observances is by holding yourself accountable for your actions.
Pranayama (breathing techniques)
Breathing is a critical part of yoga. Learning to control your breathing enhances your life experiences and can make your yoga practice easier. In fact, it has increased popularity in the Western world over the recent years because of the many health benefits.
How to practice breathing techniques
There are various types of pranayama techniques. Practicing at least once breathing technique daily can enhance your breathing.
Many people forget about pratayahara. However, it is one of the most important parts of your yoga practice since it includes withdrawing your senses, including all external stimuli consuming in your mind.
How to practice pratayahara
An ayurvedic diet is a wonderful way to practice pratayahara. It withdraws external stimuli to provide a more natural experience.
Dharana is an important part of your yoga practice since it guarantees you can remain focused during your yoga practice. This limb of your yoga practice binds your consciousness on a physical object, place, or idea so you can deepen your yoga practice.
How to practice concentration
When you improve concentration, your yoga practice will become improved. Whether you want to focus on a dristhi in front of you while holding a posture or a mental image in your mind while meditating, a point of dharana can improve your yoga practice.
Dhyana, also known as meditation, is a key component of every yoga practice.
How to practice meditation
Spend at least ten minutes daily meditating. Meditation will clear your mind and remove negative thinking, so your physical yoga practice and daily life can become more fluid.
Samadhi is a state of mental awareness brought to attention during meditation. Many people believe samadhi and enlightenment are interchangeable. However, other yogis believe samadhi is a prerequisite for reaching enlightenment.
How to practice enlightenment
To reach enlightenment, try practicing dhyana and dharana. Combining these important limbs brings your yoga practice closer to samadhi.
There is more to yoga than just a physical practice. In fact, there are eight limbs to yoga, and the ultimate goal of any yoga practice is samadhi which many yogis believe leads to enlightenment. Practicing each limb together can awaken your spiritual practice and bring you closer to enlightenment.