The Classic Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Eight Limbs of Yoga, first compiled in the classical Yoga Sutras by Patanjali in the second century BCE, are:

1. Yamas – universal guidelines for ethical standards and morals:
Ahimsa (non-violence)
Satya (truthfulness)
Asteya (no stealing)
Brahmacharya (moderation)
Aparigraha (non-attachment)

2. Niyamas – personal observances and disciplines:
Saucha (cleanliness)
Santosha (contentment)
Tapas (austerities/purifying practices)
Svadhyaya (study of spiritual scriptures)
Isvara Pranidhana (awareness of and surrender to the divine will of God)

3. Asana – Hatha (physical postures)

4. Pranayama – breathing techniques for controlling and directing the energy, or life force, in the body

5. Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses in preparation for meditation

6. Dharana – concentration and focus on an object to facilitate meditation

7. Dhyana – meditation

8. Samadhi – the ultimate goal of yoga, transcendence of self and merging with

The 4 main avenues to enter yogic practice:

1. Karma Yoga – the path of selfless service

2. Bhakti Yoga – the path of devotion to the Divine through prayer, chanting, rituals

3. Jnana Yoga – the path of intellect, wisdom and study of sacred texts

4. Raja Yoga – also known as the “royal path,” is the path to personal enlightenment, and is a balance of the first three types

Reading the Yoga Sutras is part of most teacher certification courses. A student must become familiar with the roots of this 9000-year old philosophy, and then, a yogin must unlearn what has been learned. This is a path to discovering the nature of truth.

Tree pose

Place your foot GENTLY on the side of your knee, or place it at the thigh or ankle

From what kind of soil does the tree of wisdom grow?

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