DAY 3. (read to the end for your challenge today)
The 8 limbs of yoga.
One of the most influential texts on yoga is the Yoga Sutras. In this text, 8 steps or “limbs” of Raja yoga are discussed. The 3rd and 4th limbs are extremely important to Hatha yoga.
Here are the 8 limbs:
2. Niyama: individual conduct, which comprises purity or cleanliness, contentment, austerity, the study of texts and awareness of and devotion of the devine.
3. Asana: posture.
4. Pranayama: breath control.
5. Pratyahara: sense withdrawal, which means turning the senses away from the external social and physical world to the internal mental, intellectual and spiritual world. This facilitates concentration and meditation.
6. Dharana: concentration.
7. Dhyana: meditation.
8. Samadhi: the superconscious state leading to self-realization that is the ultimate purpose of yoga.
The state of Samadhi itself is an intense form of concentration that arises from the seventh limb, Dhyana. The mind becomes so clearly focused on a single point that the practitioner experiences absolute unity between himself and the focus of his concentration. This blissful state may not be held for long at first, but can, with regular practice, be sustained, developed and entered at will.
The good news is that these 8 limbs do not need to be practiced in numerical order; neither does one step need to be complete before moving on to the next one. Most will start with the practice of posture, breath control and concentration. These lead us into greater awareness of how we conduct ourselves, both personally and socially. The ultimate goal being: Samadhi.
Day 3 challenge:
What do you think Samadhi would help you with in your life if you were able to enter that state whenever you needed to connect with your inner self and find inner peace even for a moment?
Share your thoughts with us in the comment box below.
All participants’ names will be entered in our 30 days of yoga with hipS-sister draw Oct. 1st.
Tomorrow, we have a look at the body’s energy centres. Join us!