Eight Limbs Of Yoga

Having never had any formal yoga training, my learning has always been experience led with understanding following some time after discovery. I have been aware of the eight limbs of yoga for some time now, but never looked into the meaning of each, so I have just done so and I am shocked by what I have learnt.

I seem to fit into more of the limbs than I could have thought possible. I'm not quite sure what this means, other than maybe I am a Jack of all trades when it comes to the philosophy of yoga.

- Ahimsa - Compassion for all living things - I have always had this, apart from a couple of childhood occasions where I burnt ants with a magnifying glass, or pulling the wings/legs off of daddy longlegs.
- Satya - Commitment to Truthfulness - I have learnt at an early age to allways tell the truth and I have been tested countless times since, where I have had the option to lie and save my skin, but I have always been honest and open, shunning deceitfullness.
- Asteya - Non-stealing - Again I had a couple of incidents while growing up, but now stand against this sort of thing.
- Brahmacharya - Sense Control - I am disciplined, seek the simple life, I meditate, and am careful with my sexual energy.
- Aparigraha - No desire for wealth - If i'm honest there are moments where I crave more money, but it is not for the love of money, I do not worship wealth and actually despise greed.

- Sauca - Purity - I'm doing pretty good on the purity of mind, i seem in recent years to have conquered my anger that difined me for so long, and I'm trying to look after my body, avoiding bad food and exercising.
- santosa - Contentment - I do struggle with this one sometimes, and feel that I deserve more than i am getting in the material world, but i then remind myself of what I have already acomplished spiritually and feel better about my situation.
- Tapas - Disciplined use of energy - I am generally disciplined and present a professional image to the world, I practice prayer and strive to understand myself better. I have actually reduced the number of people i associate with as well, so that I am not tempted by wrong behaviour.
- Svadhyaya - Self Study - I love this topic and spend a lot of my spare time reading books and studying on the internet about myself. Just now Reading Awakening Kundalini by Dr Lawrence Edwards. I much prefer this type of book to novels, unless the novel is alegorical or metaphorical.
- Isvarapranidhana - celebration of the Spiritual - I give thanks every day for my ongoing grace with prayer and my heart is filled with thanks for the experiences I have already had and for those that are to come.

Asanas - This is one limb that I do not practice, I occasionally spontaneously strike a pose which may or may not be a yoga asana, i don't know but it seems to help with the energy in my body.

Pranayama - I have performed this for very many years, typically in bed at the end of the day

Pratyahara - i'm not great at this but certainly try to resist the inputs from my senses that may be detrimental to my system. Since my Kundalini awakening this has become more important as I have been receiving far more input and dealing with it has proven difficult, and i struggle daily with my subconcious.

Dharana - I have always had a good concentration and have been able to maintain focus over long periods for things that interest me. I have always practiced Raja yoga so in reading about Dharana I am not suprised that it is part of my makeup.

Dhyana - Again I have always done this, sometimes maddeningly, so no surprises here and it is almost automatic for me to analyse, comtemplate, and reflect upon things that have happened to me, looking at all avenues and results, over and over until i really feel I understand an event.

Samadhi - I have achieved this twice in my recent experience, and it lasted for a few minutes at a time and was amazing, life changing in fact.

One thing I have realised from looking at each limb is that it seems to me that it actually isn't a this or that set of techniques/experiences, and that one leads to the other which leads to the next. I may be a bit slow but I hadn't realised this before now, and in achieving all eight of the limbs one maybe becomes a yogi! I'm someway off that, but i've definately made some progress.


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