Here is a simple breakdown of the eight limbs:
- Yamas: This is like the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Practice nonviolence, being truthful, not stealing, restraint, and noncovetousness.
- Niyama: This is spiritual hygiene. Embody: cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self study and surrender to spirit.
- Asana: This is the physical practice: "Your body is your temple". We learn concentration and discipline. This is the one I am really good at!
- Pranayama: Breathing exercises. The mastery of breath control is so important. The breath is the bridge from the mind to the body, and is the pathway of the emotions. When we gain mastery of the breath, we strengthen the mind and learn to detach from the emotions in a healthy way.
- Pratyahara: Detachment means that we observe, but pull our focus inward so that outward circumstances are not the basis for our contentment. "It's an inside job".
- Dharma: This is our spiritual purpose. We learn to detach from our thinking nature, by learning one pointed focus. This may mean stopping the mind for a moment.
- Dhyana: A sustained period of concentration when the mind stops.This is very advanced and comes with practice. It comes from regularly sitting.This is the one that I must remind myself to practice imperfectly. Like any muscle, it strengthens with consistency.
- Samadhi: Awakening! This can be translated in so many ways. Enlightenment is beyond time and space. If you could pull far away out of time/space, body/mind...you are already awakened. The ultimate moment of bliss is available to all.