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Eight Limbs of Yoga

Actions by which success is assured

8limbsYoga is not just about exercises and is not just about meditation, there are eight traditionally defined elements:

1: Niyama which translates as following the rules of right personal conduct including diet and lifestyle.

2: Yama which translates as observing correctness should behaviour.

3: Asana comprises all the physical exercises of yoga that keep us physically healthy and help to prepare the body and mind for pranayama and meditation.

4: Pranayama or breathing exercises. At a basic level is about controlling the breath and increasing self-awareness. But on a deep physical level when done well, pranayama heals and strengthens the central nervous system.

5: Dhyana or meditation which loosely translates as self observance and connection with one's spiritual self.

6: Pratyahara is thought of as developing self control over the five senses and basically keeping your senses under control. But at a deeper level, it is about withdrawing consciousness from the senses in order to enter a deeper state of meditation.

7: Dharana is a process of gaining complete self-control and autonomy in harmony with body mind and spirit.

8: Samahdi is a going beyond existence, a state of oneness with God or oneness with everything. But there are eight levels of samadhi leading to liberation from suffering and oneness with the world.  Mahasamadhi, the final is the final stage often referred to as Nirvana.

The eight levels of Samadhi

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