Virtually all types of yoga are grounded in the philosophy of the Eight Fold Path presented in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written over 2,000
years ago. Each of the eight ‘limbs’ in the Eight Fold Path is either a principle or a practice for life. Also, each is a separate but equal part of a holistic focus on evolving toward greater completeness and connectivity throughout many aspects of life.
The 8-Fold Path
1. Yamas – These are social behaviors, moral principles, and they relate to how we treat others.
There are 5 Yamas:
– ahimsa – non-violence
– satya – truth
– asteya – non-stealing (could be objects or attention)
– brahmacharya – control of Life Force Energy or Prana
– aparigraha – taking only what is necessary (no hoarding)
There are 5 Niyamas:
– sauca – cleanliness in Mind, Body and Spirit
– samtosa – contentment with what we have
tapas – keeping the body fit
– svadhyaya – self-study
– ishvarapranidhana – devotion to Higher Power
3. Asana – This is the posture practice. This is what 90% of yoga in the West is based upon but in the big picture of “Yoga” it is only small part
4. Pranayama – Defined
as the formal breathing practices of yoga which can involve inhalation, retention and exhalation
5. Pratyahara – Describes
a state of sensory withdrawl. Not being distracted in what you are doing by the tempting aromas of dinner being cooked in the kitchen , would be one example.
6. Dharana – This develops concentration or single minded focus; concentrating on a mantra, candle flame or flower would be an example
7. Dhyana – Another
word for meditation. Here there is no distraction