More share buttons
Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends


The Path to Liberation: Understanding the Eight Limbs of Yoga

All spiritual disciplined are done with a view to still the mind. The perfectly still mind is universal spirit. – Swami Ramdas

Think of a situation, where you do have the knowledge about the truth but implementing and syncing with your way of life is challenging. For example, a diabetes patient knows how harmful consuming sugar can be yet he is not able to control the urge to have sweets. We understand the worth of exercising yet we get lazy and become a procrastinator. The mind is fickle and fluctuating in nature. The situation is no different when the mind clings to negative emotions like jealousy, vengeance etc. We do have knowledge about the consequences of dwelling in these emotions but yet the mind choses to ignore it.
Yoga Vartika (a commentary on the Yoga Bhāṣya Volume 1553) includes a concept of Yogangas, which are eight steps towards disciplining the mind in yoga.

Yogangas, in Ashtanga yoga, is also known as Eight limbs of Yoga. While practicing any form of Yoga and meditation, knowledge of Yogangas is extremely useful. These Yogangas not only removes the impurities of the mind, but also removes the obstacles to help attain higher level of consciousness.

The first step is Yama (self-discipline) that includes cultivating a spirit of friendliness and de-cluttering the mind that is filled with hatred, selfishness, jealously of detrimental nature. It emphasizes on being a good-willed person and understanding the beauty of selflessness. Yama includes letting go of arrogance (ahimsa) and ego (asmita).

Next is Niyama (observances) that strives to clean the body and mind from stoppages and sabotages. It includes cleanliness (internal and external), contentment, refining actions, self-study and respecting the law of universe. All these are catalyst to a balanced state of mind and being imprudent can lead to an unwanted friction in the mind.

Asana (body postures) increase the flow of vital energy in the body as it keeps the body healthy and prevents our body from producing disturbances.

While Pranayama (oxygenating the body through accurate breathing) is the process in which the breath is controlled to keep the mind focused and practice concentration.

Defragmenting the mind to seek stillness.

Pratyahara (awareness of the breath) is the withdrawal of senses from all external objects. Life is not just about thinking but feeling too. One is trained to believe in rationality because of which the intuition and senses are blatantly ignored. The truth of the matter is intuition is the only truth. Pratyahara is a process of dissolving into each and every breath and disconnecting with the senses perceived by the mind.

Once the mind has traversed these steps, it becomes easy to concentrate Dharana. A balanced mind focuses on one thing at a time uninterrupted by external or internal distractions. Concentration instigates embracing the true nature of knowledge whole-heartedly. Learning to let go of the excuses and seeking joy in the single-mindedness. From here onwards, one commences the journey to spirituality. Mind that can aptly concentrate reaches the stage of Dhyana.

Dhyana is a stage of meditation where the mind ceases to have any inappropriate function that goes against the nature of peace. Once the mind has learned the nature of reality, it leads to Samadhi (the super conscious state) or bliss. This is the ultimate spiritual plane to be in. It is the merging of the self with the universe. It is that moment when everything else disappears and only the elements of the present moment exist, and the liberated soul can connect to everything.

“Man’s conscious state is an awareness of body and breath. His subconscious state, active in sleep, is associated with his mental, and temporary, separation from body and breath. His super conscious state is a freedom from the delusion that “existence” depends on body and breath. God lives without breath; the soul made in his image becomes conscious of itself, for the first time, only during the breathless state.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda

Image source

Mind energy

Share on Pinterest
More share buttons
Share with your friends



FALLEN SOLDIER The tyrannical tentacle of the state has caught one of our own. Gary Z McGee is in jail for the petty offense of not pulling over quickly enough. He is now charged with two felonies: Evading arrest and endangering a child, because his son was in the RV. The license plate was stolen from his vehicle during his trip back home from visiting his family over the holidays, and he was being pulled over for speeding and driving without plates. He is currently awaiting his day in court and will be sending us his words, as he is able. Living in the most incarcerated country in the world Gary Z McGee is just the latest victim of the prison industrial complex. He faces 2 to 15 years in prison if convicted. Please feel free to send him words of your own to P.O. BOX 39 Sierra Blanca, Texas 7985. As is usual in this system, people with money can bail themselves out and afford proper legal counsel. Unfortunately Gary is not in this category. His bail amounts to $8,500.00. And the minimum to obtain legal counsel is $1,600.00. Any donation is greatly appreciated. To send a care package: My care or 866-643-9557. To put money on his books 866-394-0490. Facility code #5500 booking number 2016016069. If you would like to donate to his bail or defense fund we have set up a pay pal account for
  • Profile photo of Garima Roy

    Garima Roy, former Radio host and an Independent Writer/ Journalist, loves to explore the world with her mind. Joy is her natural state of being.

  • Show Comments

You May Also Like


Doshas – The Connecting Link Between Five Elements of Nature & Our Body

Ayurveda or “the science of life” recognises that a balanced living is an integration ...

7 Pitfalls on the Path to Enlightenment

Ah, enlightenment… So motivating. So inspiring. So misunderstood. Exasperatingly unattainable when sought after, and ...

the seven chakras

Awakening your Seven Major Chakras

Most of us here in India are familiar with Chakras to the extent that ...