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8 Limbs of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga)

A part of Raja Yoga, or Royal Yoga, the 8-fold path laid out by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras are designed to enlighten, liberate and unify the mind, body and soul. If you’ve joined yoga classes, you’ll surely hear students talking about the ‘8-limbed yoga’. If your quest is to follow the path to becoming a yogi, this is the way to go.

There are 8 Limbs of Raja Yoga:

Social restraints and moral codes of yoga

Observances, rules, and guidelines

Yoga postures or poses

Use of breath




Bliss or enlightenment

Yama is the idea of moral discipline, consisting of the practices of truthfulness, nonstealing, non-harming, chastity, and greedlessness.

Niyama is the idea of self-restraint, consisting of the 5 practices of contentment, austerity, purity, self-study, and devotion to a higher power or principle.

Asana refers to body posture, which serves the purpose of meditation and physical health.

Pranayama is the practice of breath control, which in yoga, is important for raising and balancing mental energy, thus helping boost physical health, focus and concentration.

Pratyahara is the practice of sensory inhibition, which is important for the consciousness to prepare the mind for meditation.

Dharana is the practice of concentration, or extended mental focus, which is important to meditate effectively.

This refers to the art of meditation, or focusing and concentrating on a point for the intention of seeking the truth.