The Eighth Limb of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path: Samadhi (absolute consciousness)

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Last month, we covered the seventh limb of Ashtanga yoga – Dhyana (meditation).  All previous posts can be found on the YWG GRACE-MAIL archives.  Now we are going to explore the eighth and final limb:  Samadhi (absolute consciousness).  Just a reminder that the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Yama (restraint) Niyama (observances) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath control) Pratyahara (controlling the senses) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) Samadhi (absolute consciousness)  This month’s focus: SAMADHI If you walked the streets and asked people what they think the purpose of yoga would be, many would suggest that yoga is about flexibility, … Read More

The Seventh Limb of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path: Dhyana (meditation)

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Last month, we covered the sixth limb of Ashtanga yoga – dharana (concentration).  Now we are going to explore the seventh limb:  Dhyana (meditation). Just a reminder that the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Yama (restraint) Niyama (observances) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath control) Pratyahara (controlling the senses) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) Samadhi (absolute consciousness)  This month’s focus: DHYANA The last three limbs of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga are inward practices.  The sixth limb, dharana (concentration) and the seventh limb, dhyana (meditation) are higher stages of the same discipline.  Dharana is the concentration on a particular physical … Read More

The Sixth Limb of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path: Dharana (concentration)

GraceGrace's Blog

Last month, we covered the fifth limb of Ashtanga yoga – pratyahara (controlling the senses).  All previous posts can be found on the YWG GRACE-MAIL archives.  Now we are going to explore the sixth limb:  Dharana (concentration). Just a reminder that the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Yama (restraint) Niyama (observances) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath control) Pratyahara (controlling the senses) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) Samadhi (absolute consciousness)  This month’s focus: DHARANA Dharana derives from the Sanskrit word ‘dhri’ which means ‘to hold, carry or maintain’.  Dharana is often simply referred to as concentration.  It is the concentration … Read More

The Fifth Limb of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path: Pratyahara (Controlling the Senses)

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Last month, we covered the fourth limb of Ashtanga yoga – pranayama (breath control).  All previous posts can be found on the YWG GRACE-MAIL archives.  Now we are going to explore the fifth limb: pranayama (breath control). Just a reminder that the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Yama (restraint) Niyama (observances) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath control) Pratyahara (controlling the senses) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) Samadhi (absolute consciousness)   This month’s focus: PRATYAHARA Pratyahara is centering the mind with control of the senses.  The yoga sutras define pratyahara as ‘the conscious withdrawal of energy from the senses’.  You … Read More

The Third Limb of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path: Asana (Posture)

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The last few months we have covered the first two limbs of Ashtanga yoga – yama and niyama.  Now we are going to explore the third limb: asana (posture) which is the most popular in the Western world. Just a reminder that the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Yama (restraint) Niyama (observances) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath control) Pratyahara (controlling the senses) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) Samadhi (absolute consciousness)  This month’s focus: ASANA Asana, the third limb, is often referred to as posture and is the aspect of yoga practice that is often misunderstood and taken for the … Read More

The Fifth Niyama: Isvara Pranidhana (Devotion to God)

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To refresh from last month, the five niyamas (codes of conduct/regulations) of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Saucha (purity or cleanliness) Santosha (contentment) Tapas (austerity) Swadhyaya (self-study) Isvara Pranidhana (devotion to God).   Last month, we looked at the fourth niyama – swadhyaya (self-study).  This month, let’s explore the fifth niyama – isvara pranidhana in more detail.  This month’s focus: Isvara Pranidhana  Isvara pranidhana relates to the practice of devotion to God.  Patanjali’s reference to the divine in the Yoga Sutras is not restrictive to a particular conventional God but rather a universal divine force.  According to Patanjali, liberation can be … Read More

The Fourth Niyama: Swadhyaya (Self-study)

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To refresh from last month, the five niyamas (codes of conduct/regulations) of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Saucha (purity or cleanliness) Santosha (contentment) Tapas (austerity) Swadhyaya (self-study) Pranidhana (devotion to God). Last month, we looked at the seconde niyama – tapas (austerity).  This month, let’s explore the third niyama – swadhyaya in more detail.  This month’s focus: Swadhyaya Swadhyaya is the practice of self-study and self-analysis.  Sva is interpreted as ‘self’ and adhyaya means ‘investigation or inquiry’.   As yogis, we are encouraged to self-inquire daily through practices such asana, pranayama and meditation.  Traditionally, swadhyaya is attributed to the study of … Read More

The Second Limb Of Ashtanga Yoga: Niyama

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The last few months, the focus has been on the first limb of Ashtanga yoga – yama (restraints).  As discussed a few months back, there are 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga: Yama (restraint) Niyama (observances) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath control) Pratyahara (controlling the senses) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) Samadhi (absolute consciousness) We will now focus on the second limb, niyama. Niyama refers to individual discipline or observance and is the Sanskrit term meaning rule or law.  They refer to the cultivation of following good habits.  Like the five yamas, the niyamas are not exercises or actions to be simply studied; … Read More

The Fifth Yama: Aparigraha (non-coveting)

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To refresh, the five yamas (codes of conduct) of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Ahimsa (non-aggression or non-violence) Satyam (truthfulness) Asteya (non-stealing) Brahmacharya (continence) Aparigraha (non-coveting).  We previously looked at the fourth yama – Brahmacharya (continence).  Now, let’s explore the fifth yama – aparigraha in more detail.  Focus: APARIGRAHA Aparigraha is often interpreted as non-greed or non-coveting.  It is the abstention from possessiveness, greed, selfishness and acquisitiveness. Aparigraha is about accepting what one has and being mindful when giving and receiving.  In our contemporary consumerist society, this concept of simple living is a difficult one for many to grasp especially … Read More