Week 8: The 8 Limbs of Yoga

May 21, 2021

This past Tuesday was my weekly meeting with Pilar, my on-site advisor. Because she lives on the other side of America, we are not able to meet in person and these meetings serve as our time to talk about things related to breath, yoga, and meditation. At 8 AM for our talk this week she introduced me to the idea of the 8 limbs of yoga. These limbs, which translates to ashtanga, basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. As Pilar says, “the first 3 are Yamas, Niyamas, and Asana while the last four are different levels of meditative experiences resulting in enlightenment” but I should only be focusing on the first three. Yamas, the first limb, focuses on one’s ethical standards and sense of integrity, which also includes how we conduct ourselves in life. The 5 properties of this limb are Ahimsa (nonviolence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non stealing), Brahmacharya (continence), and Aparigraha (noncovetousness), but it basically boils down to the old rule that we should do to others what we want to be done to ourselves. The second limb is Niyama, and it is related to our self-discipline and spiritual observances. A few ways to achieve success in this sect are to develop your own meditation practices or say grace before dinner and just in general being right with God. The third limb is Asana, and this is simply the poses that are practiced in yoga. When practicing these poses in yoga, we develop the habit of discipline while also forming the ability to concentrate, both of which are necessary for meditation. While I am not anywhere close to completing these 8 limbs, the yoga I have been doing for the last couple months has helped me to further my understanding of the breath and practice it as well.

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