This week we are focusing on the 8 limb path of yoga. We are now on sutras 2.26 and 2.27 they, of course play off of one another. In so many words they talk about our ability to perceive information in our day to day lives and then make a decision. They talk about the seven stages of enlightenment… Which is all connected to the next sutra and FINALLY we have made our way onto the 8 limbs of yoga. Sutra 2.28: By embracing Ashtanga Yoga, the eight-faceted path – we can diminish the impurities and give rise to spiritual knowledge which leads to the revelation of our inner radiance.
2.29 – Ashtanga yoga: the eight limb path embraces:
1. Yama: reflection of our true nature (self restraint)
2. Niyama: evolution toward harmony (fixed rules)
3. Asana: comfort in being, posture
4. Pranayama: breath control
5. Pratyhara: drawing within (sense withdrawal)
6. Dharana: concentration/drawing your consciousness inward
7. Dhyana: meditation
8. Samadhi: union with the Divine
One of our instructors Katie Hannah just wrote an AWESOME blog post breaking down the 8 limb path that you can find: http://practiceindie.com/blog/the-8-limbed-path-of-yoga/
a sort of the 8 limb path for dummies if you will. 🙂
Check Katie’s blog for a detailed scoop on the 8 limb path.
This week I want to spend some time diving into the magic of the 8 limb path…
Think of your yoga practice in the way you think back on your life. When we go through old pictures, home videos, journal entries… some of the magic of that is you get to see all of the dots of your life starting to connect and making this beautiful image of the present moment. Of the human that you are now formed into. All of those dots connect and make this beautiful intricate image that we are able to reflect on and see all of those little moments as one massive work of art.
I like to use that metaphor when I think of my yoga practice and especially the 8 limb path. The more you dive into your practice, the psychological part of yoga, the history of yoga, the science behind it, the original teachers and gurus it becomes this overwhelming feeling of coming home… or looking back on old home videos. Everything starts to connect and make sense. You hear a word in sanskrit and the english meaning of it and think “YES! I knew that somehow?” A pose comes very easily and you think, where have you been my whole life? A pose comes very difficult and you learn from it.
Dont even get me started on the number 8 in yoga philosophy and tradition. Its no coincidence the 8 limb path first gets mention in sutra 2.28. Its no coincidence there are 108 beads on your malas. It is no coincidence we do 108 sun salutations.
The yoga sutras are, for lack of a better term, a super traditional guide book to your yoga practice. The 8 limb path is a check list of your yoga practice… all of those things on the 8 limb path are happening within you every time you step on your mat. It’s just up to you when you start to really, really notice it.
Want to dive deeper? Here are some books I recommend when diving into the 8 limb path:
*The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Just because someone has translated sanskrit to english doesn’t mean they did the most epic job of it. Be sure you’re getting a correctly translated version I suggest Sri Swami Satchidananda’s version)
*Meditations From The Mat -Rolph Gates
As you start your self education of the history and philosophy of yoga always remember– lack of evidence is not proof of evidence. Do your own research. Keep pushing. Keep learning. Keep an open mind. And let open ended questions be okay.
Pop by the studio this week as we build dhanurasana (bow pose). It has a little bit of everything. Stretching, Strengthening, focus, patience, energizing, yet grounding. Alas… it makes a perfect circle… of course.