The word yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India where yoga
originated. We can think of the union occurring between the mind, body and spirit.
According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the ancient texts that is the basis for the
philosophy behind yoga, there are eight “limbs” of yoga. Each limb relates to an aspect of
achieving a healthy and fulfilling life, and each builds upon the one before it.
1. Yama: (Five ethical guidelines regarding moral behavior towards others):
Ahimsa: Non violence
Asteya: Non stealing
Brahmacharya: Non lust
Aparigraha: Non covetousness
2. Niyama: (Five ethical guidelines regarding moral behavior towards oneself):
Tapas: Sustained practice
Svadhyaya: Self study
Isvara pranidhana: Surrender to God
3. Asana: Practice of yoga postures.
4. Pranayama: Practice of breathing exercises.
5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses, meaning that the exterior world is not a distraction
from the interior world within oneself.
6. Dharana: Concentration, meaning the ability to focus on something uninterrupted by
external or internal distractions.
7. Dhyana: Meditation. Building upon Dharana, the concentration is no longer focused on a
single thing but is all encompassing.
8. Samadhi: Bliss. Building upon Dhyana, the transcendence of the self through meditation.
The merging of the self with the universe. Sometimes translated as enlightenment.
Light on Life, B.K.S. Iyengar, 2005.
Yoga: The Iyengar Way, Mira Silva and Shyam Mehta, 1990.
There are many different types of yoga each specific type has taken aspects of the philosophy
behind the eight limbs.
The journey of each individual’s soul is unique and the key for your evolution is in your own
hands so open the door that serves you best ,the time you invest on your specific quest will
give you the experiences to move on and realise that you are your own master,so enjoy your