What Is Yoga? Part 1 — Eight Limbs
A Multi-Aspect Lifestyle Towards Balance And Stillness
What does yoga mean?
Patanjali, the sage who wrote the Yoga Sutras, starts his first line with: “Yogas chitta vritti ni rodha,” literally translated as yoga is the cessation of the whirlpool of the mind.
Yoga is stillness. Not just in the body but in the mind and in the spirit of who you are. You are a multi-aspect being and stillness can be achieved in each one of them.
Yoga is actually made up of eight parts.
These eight parts are called “limbs”.
The eight limbs of yoga are:
Yama — literally meaning, control.
These list five restraints and habits for healthy living.
Niyama —literally meaning, positive duties.
These list five observances and habits for healthy living.
Asana — literally meaning pose where on is relaxed and firm.
This is the postural yoga that we’ve all come to know.
Pranayama — literally meaning control of breath.
This is the breathing part of yoga.
Pratyahara — literally meaning away from food.
Food is anything we ingest. To put it simply, finesse over external influences.
Dharana — literally meaning to hold.
This is holding our focus or concentration.
Dhyana — literally meaning contemplation.
This is where meditation happens.
Samadhi — literally meaning oneness.
This is where we slip into a deep state of consciousness.
So you see, the physical part of yoga is only 1 of 8 parts that come together to form the complete practice of yoga.