The Eight Limbs of Yoga


Samadhi is the last stage of yoga. The physical postures of yoga are merely the means whereby the mind is calmed. Before it is possible to calm the mind,

There are eight stages of yoga, which have at times been compared to a ladder, where Samadhi is the last rung at the top of the ladder.

Another way of looking at it is that there are eight limbs to the body of yoga, and that in order to move forward, all of the limbs must be moved simultaneously.

In order to move this eight limbed body with any freedom or direction, there must be a coordination of all eight legs. Some of the legs you can get by without understanding their function. In fact many of us get by with only four, moving them spasticlly, so that we feel rather stuck in our lives.

The first step of yoga occurs when the individual becomes aware of how their attitude towards their environment is directing their life. The more kindness and consideration we develop, the more pleasant and friendly feelings our very presence engenders in others. The second step of yoga occurs when the individual becoms aware of self study, and begins to understand how the body shapes our relatioship with the outside world.

1) Yama, our attitude toward our environment.

2) Niyama, our attitude toward our selves.

3) Asana, the practice of body exercises.

4) Pranayama, the practice of breathing exercises.

5) Pratyahara, the restraint of our senses.

6) Dharana, the ability to direct our minds.

7) Dhyana, the ability to develop interactions with what we seek to understand.

8) Samadhi, complete integration with the object to be understood.