Ecstatic Yoga Workbook

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Samadhi I Mindful I Asana 1 I Temple I Asana 2 I Kriya I Ceremony I Ethics

Samadhi Workbook
Patanjali's 8 Limbs Lesson


 

Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga 

 

In Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which is translated as the "eight limbs" (ashta=eight, anga=limb). This eight fold path is a guide to living a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a guide for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline. An ideal of transcendence, mindfulness and bliss. They are described in Ashtanga as the path to Enlightenment as their intention is to bring one’s self to the ultimate union with the Self, Source and all life.   

 

1  Yamas- Precepts of Social Discipline 

2  Niyamas- Precepts of Individual Discipline 

3  Asana- Body; physical postures and poses of yoga 

4  Pranayam- Breath, prana, energy; using breath and pranayama exercises 

5  Pratyahara- Inner sensation; external sense withdrawal, focus within. 

6  Dharana- Concentration; single point of focus. 

7  Dhyana- Meditation/Observer; allowing a meditative flow of awareness. 

8  Samadhi- Bliss; basking in the nectar, peace that passes understanding. 

 

Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga 

 

Limb One Yamas  

 

Yamas: Abstineces. Precepts of Social Discipline 

 

Ahimsa- Non-Violence.  Not harming other people or other sentient beings. Not harming oneself. Not harming the environment. Tolerance even for that which we dislike. Not speaking that which, even though truthful would injure others. 

 

Satya- Truthfulness. Note, that sometimes we may know our words are literally true, but do not convey what we know to be truthful.  Satya means not intending to deceive others in our thoughts, as well as our words and actions. 

 

Asteya- Non-Stealing.  Not taking that which is not given. 

 

Brahmacarya- Moderation. Sexual Responsibility.  Regarding others as human beings rather than as male or female bodies. The spirit of this precept is conservation of energy for the purpose of spiritual practice. Protecting the energy of the body through restraint from activities that deplete and distract us from our purpose. 

 

Aparigraha- Abstention from Greed.  Not coveting that which is not ours. Avoidance of unnecessary acquisition of objects not essential to maintaining life or spiritual study. 

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Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga 

 

 

Limb Two Niyamas 

 

Niyamas: Observances. Precepts of Individual Discipline 

 

Sauca- Purity/Cleanliness.  Not only external cleanliness of the body, but attending to internal cleanliness such as avoiding the impurities of anger and egoism. Eating a clean and moderate diet. 

 

Santosa- Contentment.  Avoiding spiritual complacency, accepting the external situation we are allotted in this life. 

 

Tapas- Austerity.  Deep commitment to our yoga practice. “Blazing practice with religious fever.” 

 

Svadhyaya- Self-Study.  Spiritual self-education. Contemplation and application of the scriptures or sacred texts or our chosen path. 

 

Isvara Pranidhana-Surrender of the self to God.  Reverence to God. Acknowledgment that there is a higher principle in the universe than one’s own small self. Modesty. Humility. 

 

 

Yama Affirmations 

Ahimsa- Non-Violence 

I treat myself and others with respect. I remain positive in words and deeds. 

 

Satya- Truthfulness 

I am honest with myself and others regarding my abilities and needs. 

I agree to verbalize my needs as they manifest. 

I speak directly to those needing to be spoken to, supporting honest communication 

I speak from my heart, allowing wisdom to influence my knowledge and ideas. 

 

Asteya- Non-Stealing 

I do not take what is not mine. 

I am productive with my time, remaining focused at my job, not personal matters. 

I give credit to those whose idea’s I have integrated. 

 

Brahmacarya- Moderation   

I remain aware of my personal needs and abilities, I don’t over extend myself. 

I work in a balanced manner, maintaining a strong personal foundation. 

 

Aparigraha- Abstention from Greed 

I support others in their actions and abilities. 

I am willing to share time and ideas with others. 

I support my community by participating in service work. 

Niyama Affirmations 

Sauca- Purity/Cleanliness 

I maintain a clean and organized environment. 

I aspire to occupy my mind with constructive thoughts and positive affirmations. 

I maintain clean personal hygiene, internally and externally, mind and body. 

 

Santosa- Contentment 

I maintain an honest perception of my fundamental needs. 

I remain content in my agreements with others or I address the issue. 

 

Tapas- Austerity 

I speak with tranquility, being truthful, pleasant and beneficial. 

I present what is truthful yet unpleasant in a proper way. 

I address my own mistakes and learn from them. 

 

Svadhyaya- Self-Study 

I am devoted to a practice of yoga in my personal life. 

I study and learn for and about myself through reading, meditation and practice. 

I continue to grow in knowledge and understanding. 

 

Isvara Pranidhana-Surrender of the self to God 

I feel confident in my relationship to a higher intelligence. 

I am committed to the interconnectedness of the greater whole. 

I enjoy my personal practice of respect for the All-Knowing.Page Break 

 

Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga 

 

Limb 3 Asana/Body 

Bring your awareness to your physical body, the front of your body, the back, the left side, the right, the upper half of your body, the lower. Now feel your physical body 360 degrees. Feel where your body is connected to the earth, acknowledge the earth fully supporting your body, relax into the earth, release and relax all the systems of the body, allow the body to relax deeply. 

 

Limb 4 Pranayama/Breath 

Bring your awareness into the breath, talking deep breaths preferable inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, or inhale and exhale through your nose. Breathing deeply and fully into the belly, lower abdomen and pelvic floor. Fill your body with prana, breath, energy. Feel the life force and energy fill your entire being. 

 

Limb 5 Pratyahara/Inner Sensation 

Withdrawing your attention from the outside world, turn your awareness inward into the body. Notice the subtle sensations within your body, inside you. Dive deep inward noticing the pulsing of your heart. Allow the awareness of the pulse of your heart to expand throughout your body. Be alert to all sensations within the body, pulsations, warmth, cool, tingling, vibrating, trembling, the flow of energy within. 

 

Limb 6 Dharana/Concentration 

Bring your attention into concentration, one pointed focused concentration. For Samadhi we suggest you bring your one pointed focus to your conscious awareness, the “I Am.” You can chant in your mind “I” or “I Am” or simply become the silent witness. If awareness is difficult or vague for you use for your one pointed anchor, you can use a word or mantra, a visual image, the breath or a location on your body. Focus all your attention on this one single point, concentrate on this one point of focus only. If you notice your mind wandering, gently and easily bring it back to your one point of focus. 

 

Limb 7 Dhyana/Meditation/Observer 

Gently releasing your concentration and allow the mind to naturally come into meditation. Be the observer of what arises with no judgement or need to change anything that arises. Allow it all to simply be. Enter into a natural meditative flow of awareness, be the silent observer. 

 

Limb 8 Samadhi/Bliss 

Allow the meditative flow of awareness to naturally and organically bring you into a deep state of inner stillness, profound peace. Bask in silence with the deepest aspect of your being available in this now moment. Let go, release, be still. Notice you are everywhere, yet nowhere in particular. Notice you are everything yet not any one thing in particular. Everywhere, nowhere, everything nothing. Bask in the nectar of your infinitely ecstatic being, total freedom. Bask in Grace. 

 

 

 

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