Yoga has “limbs.” Not the arm and leg variety or the tree branch type – they are more like guides. Well-thought-out paths to living a moral, ethical and self-disciplined life. Which all leads to…leading a happier, much more peaceful and fulfilled life. Who doesn’t want that, right?

Here’s a simple breakdown (in order) of the 8 Limbed Path of Yoga as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras:

1. Yama – This first limb deals with ethical standards and a sense of integrity. The Yama breaks down into 5 categories:
Ahimsa – non-violence
Satya – truthfulness
Asteya – non-stealing (not necessarily what you might think of first)
Brahmacharya – non-excess (resale shopping, anyone?)

Aparigraha – non-covetousness (no need to keep up with the Jones’)

2. Niyama – This limb addresses self-discipline and spiritual practices (no matter whom or what you worship) in your life. The Niyama also has five specific categories:
Saucha – cleanliness (again, not exactly what you might think and we’ll get to why)
Santosha – contentment
Tapas – self-discipline
Svadhyaya – self-study

Isvara pranidhana – surrender (not to the bad guys, to the good stuff)

3. Asana – physical practice
4. Pranayama – breath
5. Pratyahara – self-observance
6. Dharana – single point focus 
7. Dhyana – meditation
8. Samadhi – bliss

They build, one on top of the other to allow you to get to No. 8. Most of us can get to no. 5, some of us can get to no. 6 and a few of us regularly get to no. 7. No. 8 is a biggie – and we will get to deeper discussion on it so stay tuned. And if YOU get to no. 8 please let us know! 😉