8 Limbs

off the mat on the mat philosophy Apr 15, 2021
8 limbs of yoga

The 8 limbs of yoga expand our practice beyond the asana. I am so relieved that this practice is more than the body, which often feels separate from my soul, almost independent, as it gets injured at random, inconveniently sick, and surprisingly heals itself with what seems to be a mind of its own.

Our lovely, challenging poses that we cling to as the content of our practice are such a fraction of a much larger, more comprehensive, deeply grounding and simultaneously spiritual practice, that encompasses our self as a whole being, a holy being. Its' gifts are too numerous to understand, and yet, we are able to target specific life skills that escort us off our mat and into the world.

So what are these "limbs of yoga" that can take us beyond downward facing dog?

1

 YAMAS

observances toward others, "don't", like harm, lie, steal...

2

  NIYAMAS

self-imposed disciplines, "do's", like be content, work hard, trust...

3

 ASANA 

postures that free energy and care for the body

4

  PRANAYAMA

directing prana or life force, attention to the breath

5

  PRATYAHARA 

withdrawal of the senses, attention inward 

6

DHARANA 

concentration of the mind

7

 DYHANA 

meditation

8

 SAMADHI 

peace, bliss, connection to all, enlightenment

 

They are work, the kind that some days moves us to grateful tears, and other days makes us walk off our mat. They are a frame, a support that can channel our human ways in a direction of truth, kindness and ultimate health.

WARNING!!! This path, these limbs, can often result in happiness and peace.

Practice, just practice.

 

love, mary