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 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 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 First limb of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path: YAMA

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Last month, we looked generally at Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path, where the practice of yoga as a spiritual discipline is organised into eight limbs or parts.  The Eight limbs are: Yama (restraint) Niyama (observances) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath control) Pratyahara (controlling the senses) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) Samadhi (absolute consciousness) Each month, we will take a close look at each ‘limb’ and highlight the emphasis and expressions provided by them. This month’s focus: YAMA Patanjali stipulates yama as the universal social discipline, the great commandment that transcends all ages, creeds, country and time. The term yama can have different interpretations; … Read More

Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path

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At the end of last year, we looked at the true meaning and purpose of yoga: a spiritual practice that invites us to still the mind in order to connect ultimately with the divine.  In order to achieve Samadhi (pure consciousness), Patanjali, who is often described as the founder of yoga, explains an eight fold path that assists the yogi on this ultimate realisation of consciousness.  Patanjali presents a system called Ashtanga Yoga (ashto meaning “eight”, anga meaning “limb”), the Eight-Limbed Yoga, also known as the Eight Fold Path, where the practice of yoga as a spiritual discipline is organised … Read More