If you think yoga is limited to physical postures known as Asanas and mere stretching exercises, you are mistaken. Since its inception when the Adiyogi taught our seven great sages or Saptarishis about yogic principles, Yoga has been a comprehensive philosophical system encompassing a holistic approach to well-being and self-discovery. Most people who search for the best Yoga Classes in Gurgaon understand the physiological advantages of yoga, but it is way beyond that.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga are also known as Ashtanga Yoga, and they are known for ages to lead practitioners towards an enlightening journey of spiritual and self-realization. Wondering what are they? Delve in to find out!
Yama: The Moral and Ethical Foundation
Yama is the first limb of yoga, and it encompasses a set of ethical principles and moral values that guides individuals in cultivating a compassionate and responsible way of living. The first limb includes five principles:
- Ahimsa (non-violence)
- Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
- Satya (truthfulness)
- Asteya (non-stealing), and
- Brahmacharya (moderation)
Niyama: Cultivating Self-Discipline
Niyama, the second limb, focuses on self-discipline and inner observance. It consists of five principles:
- Saucha (purity)
- Tapas (discipline)
- Santosha (contentment)
- Svadhyaya (self-study), and
- Ishvara Pranidhana (devotion to a higher power)
Niyama encourages individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle, cultivate contentment, and deepen their self-awareness through self-reflection and study.
Asana: The Physical Practice
Asana, the most familiar limb in the modern yoga context, refers to the physical postures. The practice of asanas helps practitioners build strength, flexibility, and balance in the body. However, beyond the physical benefits, the practice of asanas is meant to prepare the body and mind for meditation and inner exploration.
Pranayama: Harnessing the Breath
Pranayama is the art of controlling the breath to enhance the flow of life force energy (prana) in the body. Through various breathing techniques, practitioners learn to regulate their breath and develop a deeper connection between the body and mind. Pranayama helps in reducing stress, improving concentration, and increasing vitality.
Pratyahara: Withdrawing the Senses
The fifth limb, Pratyahara, involves withdrawing the senses from external distractions and turning the focus inward. In the modern world, we are constantly bombarded with stimuli that can lead to sensory overload. Pratyahara teaches us to detach from these distractions and cultivate inner stillness and mental clarity.
Dharana: Concentration and Single-Pointed Focus
Dharana is the practice of concentration and cultivating a one-pointed focus. By honing the mind’s ability to concentrate on a single object, sound, or idea, practitioners pave the way for deeper meditation and self-awareness. This limb enhances mental discipline and helps in silencing the chatter of the mind.
Dhyana: The State of Meditation
Dhyana is the penultimate limb of yoga and represents a state of meditation. In this stage, the practitioner experiences a seamless flow of awareness towards the chosen object of meditation. Through consistent practice, the meditator achieves a sense of union with the object of focus, leading to profound insights and heightened consciousness.
Samadhi: The State of Oneness
The final limb, Samadhi, is the ultimate goal of yoga – a state of transcendence and oneness with the universe. It is a state of pure bliss, where the practitioner experiences a profound connection with the divine and recognizes their intrinsic unity with all of creation. Samadhi is the pinnacle of spiritual realization and marks the culmination of the yogic journey.
If these eight principles compel you to learn the ancient art of yoga, it’s high time you search for a Nearby Yoga Class. Searching for professionals to guide you through your yogic journey? Find them at Sadhyog!