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Yoga Sutra 2.29

Yoga sutra 2.29

yama-niyama-āsana-prāṇāyāma- pratyāhāra-dhāraṇā-dhyāna-samādhayaḥ-aṣṭau-aṅgāni

The eight limbs of yoga are social restraints, personal practices, physical discipline, mastery of breath, discipline of your senses, concentration, meditation, and complete absorption.

This sūtra lists the eight categories of life that you should be reflecting and acting on, as follows:

  • yamas: your relationship with the external world. A real yogi is not removed from the world and the yamas are like rules on how to conduct yourself in society.

  • niyamas: your relationship towards yourself. There are five niyamas and they are like rules on how to look after yourself.

  • āsana: yoga postures. There is a lot more to yoga than mere āsana; āsana is only necessary as a healthy mind cannot exist in an unhealthy body.

  • prāṇāyāma: the extension of energy or life force within us via breathwork discipline; the cornerstone of yoga.

  • pratyāhāra: awareness of the power of the senses and their appropriate usage. Mastery of the senses allows you to ‘turn your senses inside’ and see your true self.

  • dhāraṇā: concentration/singlemindedness – the ability to direct the mind to one object.

  • dhyāna: meditation – a deepening of the previous limb: dhāraṇā.

  • samādhi: complete absorption in meditation.

Patañjali provides us with very practical guidelines in the next sutra-s, so let the work begin!

Damian Cadman-Jones is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga™

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