The Philosophical foundation of
The 8 Limbs of Yoga
What is the 8 Fold Path?
The 8 Fold Path are the branches in which the practice of Yoga are based on. Yoga, itself, literally means to “yoke” or to bring “union” to. This encompasses the essence of our entirety. Utilizing the 8 limbs of yoga as a foundation towards Self-Discipline blended with Self-Liberation births us into the state of Self- Actualization. Each one is created in a systematic order to bring you to the point of Eternal Bliss. We begin with the Yamas (restraints), Niyamas (observances), Asana (Posture), Pranayama (Breathwork), Pratyhara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), eventually bringing us to the state of Samadhi (bliss).
The 8 Limbs in Relation to Healing:
I implement these practices as the undercurrent wave that’ll take us deeper in towards your journey. Whether you desire to be a yogi or not, these practices are designed to guide you in to creating a meaningful, purposeful life. We will carry the root of each individual limb as a basis of how to approach any given situation or mindset, while, also, adding some modern flare and open interpretation to assist in navigating us towards your conscious desires.
Yoga is The Journey of The Self, Through The Self, to The Self
The Yamas is the first branch of the 8 limbs. These are ethical values, or self-restraints, that are offered as guidance when becoming more mindful of how you desire to share your energy. At first glance, they may seem obvious when suggesting how to live – as some are even laws in most countries. However, as you reflect deeper into the meaning of each individual Yama, you begin to see an opportunity to invite less suffering into our everyday existence – truly unfolding the essence of this practice.
Ahimsa - Non Violence
Ahimsa is the absolute, most important step when entering, beginning, and continuing on the Journey of Self-hood. Ahimsa is the practice of nonviolence. This is the most important step you must consciously keep your feet on, for it is the true foundation of not only the rest of the Yamas, but it, too, carries itself into all the other limbs. On a superficial note, it is to not cause pain, harm, or ill intention towards another being in any form. When you take the practice of Ahimsa and integrate it into a deeper concept, it is the act of nonviolence towards yourself. This practice is not limited to not harming the physical body, but it, also, includes being mindful, present, and loving with your thoughts so that you are not causing harm to ourselves on a mental or an emotional level.
Satya - Truthfulness
Satya is to be truthful. Here you incorporate the art of not telling lies. Here is where you learn to be so secure, so solid in who you are as individuals that you do not dare to lie to yourself. You speak from your heart and find the power of your voice to express yourself to honor your deepest truth – whatever that may be for you. You claim your stance proudly, without hesitation on shining your light for all to see. For is it through this space that you strengthen the bond you find within yourself. You do this by creating inner-trust with your ability to support and respect your personal boundaries while preserving your sense of worthiness.
Asteya - Non Stealing
Asteya is the practice of non-stealing, from yourself and from those around you. You honor the time and energy of all beings. This requires being aware of the energetic vibration that you are carrying into another person’s life. It is important that you keep yourself from sending negativity into another person’s vortex, this can be acted upon be either internal or external dialogue that hinders your vibrations based on your perception of that person or experience. We are all unique and magnificent, comparison robs you from that realization. From that mindset, you view the world, the other person, and yourself from a place of lack. Which is not The Universe we are living in. We live in The Universe of Abundance. By shifting your perspective to the undeniable realization of your magnificence, you begin to not only give back to The World, but you begin to give back to yourself, as well. As the seconds tick by, each tock is yours to conquer. Allowing the third Yama into your life will help you become more aware of what type of energy you’re are sending into various areas of your life – giving you the acquired skill of responsibility to attain the life you desire.
Bramacharya - Moderation, Non Excess
The practice of Bramacharya translates “to walk with God”. This is done by practicing nonexcess – in food, in sex, in work, in sleep. When presenting yourself with an experience, there is a fine line between engaging in an act to fuel the body and engaging in it to overindulge. Often times, there is a fog in communication between our true needs and the narration of our minds. You may find yourself blocking your emotions or messages from the body by allowing your mind to distract you by demanding more food, a plethora of work, or to stay in bed and become lethargic. When you walk with God, you tap into the sanctity of every moment. With the realization of the gifts that are bestowed upon you, the action you take is drenched in presence. Therefore, removing your subconscious need to take more than what is necessary. Within this space, you create an active awareness between the pure desires of your heart and mind. You enter a state within yourself that allows you to enjoy the pleasures that your human existence cherishes, while still maintaining a rooted and balanced perception of the encounter. Bramacharya shifts our focus to see your relationships, your actions, your situations, and yourself as sacred manifestations sent from The Divine.
Aparigraha - Non Posessiveness, Non Attachment
Aparigraha is the practice on nonattachment. With the last Yama, you learn to let it go. Whatever “it” may be. You relieve yourself of expectations towards people and events that you have set in place that have been based on previous experiences. You let go of your self-image, because you understand that holding on to old stories creates a bondage around your growth, becoming, and expansion. As we all know, the only constant thing in life is change. Practicing Aparigraha, you find trust in the uncomfortable transitions that are inevitable for your activation. You give yourself permission to care, without being engulfed in sorrow as life surprises you with the unexpected. With nonattachment, you gift yourself access to enjoy the sanctity, intimacy and connection of every moment.
Saucha - Cleanlisness
Saucha is the purity of intention. The essence of remaining pure in all that you do requires you to detoxify and declutter your thoughts, actions, and body. Through this path of purification, not only do you feel called to implement cleanliness in to your external world, you allow it to follow you inwards as well. As you enter this space of mindful purity within yourself, you can enter and interact with the present moment in the same manner. You relieve yourself of any judgements, expectations, need to manipulate, and illusions so that you can allow /what is/ to emerge into your experiences. In this space, you allow and honor the natural flow of things to unfold – from situation to situation all the way to the expression of our emotions. You hold space for all that is because to be in the now is the greatest gift of all. Saucha gives you permission to be childlike in our vision, because you have let go of past judgements that may have influenced your current perspective everything becomes fresh, new, and exciting. Saucha, also, requires the practice of slowing down. Which you will use heavily in your exercises to experience the senses and observe the thoughts. You will deconstruct the social conditioning of needing to be in a fast-paced, over-stimulated world by taking your time to simmer and bask in the world around and within you.
Santosh - Contentment
Santosh contentment, is the neutralizing awareness of what is that allows you to fully accept the moment you have been presented. Again, this practice asks you to relieve yourself from expectations or the need to prepare for what is coming. What is coming is already here, and what is here is asking you to witness it with an observant and stable mind. Through this inner-stability that contentment orchestrates, you gain responsibility for your life. How you perceive any given experience – whether pleasurable or distasteful – is entirely up to you and the filter in which you choose to see. Your disturbances stem from yourself, the dialogue in which you carry and the emotions that you choose to embody may either guide or stray you away from contentment. Many times, you find yourself spending an unacceptable amount of energy steering yourself away from the things you do not like or that do not bring you pleasure. Likewise, you spend much of your time gripping on to moments when you enjoy what is around you. Santosh asks you to not ride the peaks and troughs of life, but to instead experience them in the form in which they present themselves. You learn how to maintain centeredness in your being with the practice of contentment by fully welcoming what is. Instead of seeking and reaching out for your desires, we move inwards and bask in gratitude. In gratitude there is no space for comparison or envy. In gratitude we rejoice in the abundance that surrounds us and enriches our time here on Earth. Contentment guides you to saying Thank You to your life.
Tapas - Self Discipline
Tapas is fiery self-discipline. It is the “heat” that you enter, and remain in, to transform yourself from the inside out. With Tapas, you burn out old habitual patterns and beliefs to give space to create qualities that’ll take you to a higher version of yourself. Through growth, you will find moments of discomfort and unpleasantness. These are the stages you must go through continuously to embody a shift in your inner-world. Strength, stamina, and integrity are developed in the fire of Tapas. A sense of depth to your purpose begins to implement itself into your mind when you remain mindful of your /why/. Why you chose to set foot on your personal path will be the reminder that is needed to keep you determined in embodying the various transitions you will encompass as you grow, learn, and expand.
Svadhyaya - Study of Self
To study yourself encompasses the courage to ask questions, face your shadows, and to peak in to the unknown. With Svadhyaya there are two approaches that are suggested when practicing this Niyama. First, it is to strengthen your ability to be able to reflect inwards. You begin to learn the sensations in the body (that includes the numbness). You see where your reactions/triggers stem from, what makes you glow, what creates resistance in your spirit, and where your true desires bloom from. To study yourself, also, comes in the form of studying spiritual texts. I encourage branching out and solidifying your beliefs in spirituality, higher forces, or lack thereof. All are beautiful, as do all serve a unique person in a unique way at various points in their lives. Ask universal questions that seem as though they have intangible answers. Here’s a hint: The answers will come in the form of sensations in The Heart, not by theory in The Brain.
Isvara Pranidhana -Surrender
Ishvara Pranidhana. You let go. You surrender. In a world, in a lifestyle, in a Universe that is non-stop movement in almost unfathomable directions you consciously choose to allow the flow of life to take its course. You relieve of yourself of the attachments, the over analyzing, the excessive planning so that you may truly simmer into the blissful sensations of what it is like to be you in this very moment. To take the knowing-ness of being supported by The Divinity that rests within and outside of you and give yourself access to actually feel the Eternal Presence vibrate itself into the cells, the thoughts, us energy that makes you an Eternal Being.
Asana is Sanskrit for postures. Traditionally these poses were created to relieve you from any physical discomfort that may be caused from stiffness or lack of strength. All of which to prepare you for long hours of meditation. While you will learn to honor the asanas and their dedication to help you move inwards, you will also branch out of the traditional poses so that you may learn to feel unapologetically comfortable and feminine in your own skin. Movement is the releasing of energy. Movement is the expression of emotions. Movements is the clearing of stagnation. Movement is the awakening of our root. Movement is the catalyst to our medicine. I will guide you to a level of comfort in your own body that intuitive movement will become a daily ritual. Creating new shapes, spiraling through spinal waves, bringing awareness to new muscles in the body as the contract and expand will be a portal for you to enter at your own desire.
Prana is your Life Force Energy, also known as Chi in other cultures. It is this unexplicable force that enters the womb and gifts you your first heartbeat, so mysterious that even modern doctors can’t tell us where it comes from. It is what brings vitality to your entire being, without it your body will rot and decompose. It is activated by your breath. The longest act we have ever continuously done in our lives, yet most of us inhale and exhale unconsciously.
Pranayama can be interpreted in two ways.
Prana-Yama, meaning breath control or restraint. This gives you the power to shift your energy by controlling the circulation of your Prana. You may, also, interpret it as Prana-Ayama, which means freedom or liberation of breath. Stating that Pranayama may free you from habitual patterns of the mind. Learning the power of your breath, and allowing pranayama to be a part of your daily ritual will ground you deeper into Your Self & Your Energetic Power.
The practice of Sensory Withdrawal. This gives you the opportunity to move your awareness inwards and detach yourself from any eternal distractions that may be keeping you from your inner wisdom. From the place of Pratyahara, you can observe the areas of your life that need to shifted or released, as well as the areas of yourself that are ready for growth and expansion.
Each one of The Limbs previous to this one have been stepping stones to guide you to a space of Complete Concentration inwards. With training your breath, movement, and senses as a specific points of concentration, with Dharana you can transcend yourself a layer(s) deeper by focusing in on energy channels, a visualization, or light. In Dharana, you are in self-observance – removing your focus away from the material in to your inner-awareness.
Stillness. Mental Stillness, Physical Stillness. A space reached within yourself where very little to no thoughts cloud the mind. A place of complete presence in the world within and the world outside, without needing to hold focus on a particular object, mantra, or inhale. It is the flow and ease of being in your existence.
The 8th Limbs – bliss, state of ecstasy. Where You, the meditator, enter a space of realization to your inter-connectedness to Your Self, Your Surroundings, and The Divinity that pulsates through All. It is, also, understood as a ‘Enlightenment’, a level of self-actualization that cannot be possessed, only experienced.