The Eight Limbs of Yoga

I had a wonderful student ask me to write about Kundalini Yoga and the difference between that and other yoga styles.

I will start with an overview of yoga. It is always a wonderful reminder to come back to the basics, not to get carried away with the fluff of what we can attach to things. And that can be applied to more than just Yoga!

 

Firstly, all yoga styles are a practice, designed to unite our entire being. Our physical, mental, emotional and subtle bodies come together in one state of awareness. Movement, breath, focus, meditation, internal and external principals are all combined into the wonderful practice that is yoga. >>Read more about Yoga Philosophy here<<

Taking from the C.S. Lewis quote; we are a Soul operating in a body. Not the other way around.

Soul

Yoga was initially designed to regulate the flow of energy through our chakras so we could sit in a comfortable position and attain a blissful state of awareness. Achieve a state of Oneness.

You cannot just sit and achieve this state, our body may ache and our minds will chatter. Hence the entire practice checks-in with each aspect of our being before we can enter this state. Also known as the Eight Limbs of Yoga.

8limbs

How do you live your life? What are you moral codes? The Yamas and Niyamas are yogic codes to live life by. Without this reminder, negative actions, speech and thoughts will bring you nothing but never-ending misery.

The Yamas and Niyamas represent codes that will impact on your state of being not just on the mat but off the mat and into everyday life. Check-in with your emotions and interactions with others, with your relationship with yourself – how do you look after and treat yourself?

Yamas

  • Non-harming (Ahimsa)
  • Truthfulness / no illusion (Satya)
  • Non-stealing / no greed (Asteya)
  • Remembering the higher reality (Brahmacharya)
  • Non-possessiveness (Aparigraha)

Niyamas

  • Purifying your body and mind (Shaucha)
  • Cultivating an attitude of contentment (Santosha)
  • Training your senses (Tapas)
  • Inner exploration (Svādhyāya)
  • Letting go into your spiritual source (Ishvarapranidhana)

On top of these moral codes you have:

Movement of your body (Asana). This can be a short stretch or a 2 hour practice of body movement – either way you are removing aches, discomfort and a need for fidgeting from the body in preparation for seated meditation.

Breath (Pranayama). Exercise of your breathing ability, our breath is the vehicle that can transport us from everyday living to Soul awareness living. Our breath is constant and our awareness of how we breathe can give you great insight to your state of being.

Withdrawal of the Senses (Pratyahara). The ability to let go of our surroundings and just be an observer. Not to be a slave to our emotions and physical needs, to harness to ability to disengage from our ego.

Concentrated Focus (Dharana). Before entering a state of meditation there must be a refining of our focus. Training our concentration so we can attain a steady focus of our mind without our consciousness wavering from it. For example Trataka is a form of Dharana.

Meditative State (Dhyana). Meditation is the awareness of the state of your mind. Awareness of your focus and something greater than you that you are focusing on. There is an object of mediation and then you are the observer of your meditative state.

Oneness (Samadhi). A blissful state of oneness. A high state of awareness where you, the observer become the object of meditation. That which is greater than you is experienced as you. Union takes place, the purpose of yoga.

 

Continue to read about Kundalini Yoga>>>>