Summary of the 8 Limbs of Yoga

1. Yamas: The 5 yamas as listed by Patanjali in The Yoga Sutras are considered to be moral and ethical imperatives in Hinduism.

-Ahimsa - nonviolence or nonharm to any living creature

-Satya - Truthfulness in all actions

-Asteya - non-stealing

-Bramhacarya - showing sexual constraint, abstinence, ascetism; fidelity in marriage

-Aparigraha - non-greed, non-possessiveness; having temperance

2. Niyamas: The 5 virtuous habits according to The Yoga Sutras

-Saucas - purity and cleanliness of mind, speech, and body

-Santosas - to have contentment for one's self and others regardless of the circumstances

-Tapas - to have austerity, persistence, determination, and perserverance

-Svadhyaya - study of the vedas; study of self through introspection of the five senses, study of own thoughts, thought patterns, and actions

-Isvarapranidhana - contemplation of the Divine, Supreme Being, Universe, Ishvara

3. Asanas: Yoga poses (108 asanas) that should be repeated until mastered by the student; asana also refers to a yogi remaining perfectly still while in a seated posture such as Sukhasana or Siddhasana. 

-to remain steady and motionless while in a yoga posture

according to Patanjali the asana should be "steady and pleasant"

4. Pranayama:

-prana means breath, and yama means extending or stretching

-consciously regulating the inhale and exhale, the time and length, and suspension of the breath through various pranayama techniques

5. Pratahara:

-prati means "against or contra" and ahara means to bring near

-withdrawal of the external senses so that they are focused inward on the internal self

-awareness is drawn inward and the mind -is turned away from external sensory influences

6. Dharana: 6th limb of yoga

-concentration in an introspective manner

-fixing the mind so that it has one-pointed focus

-accomplished through utilization of mantras, mudras, tongue placement in mouth, etc.

7. Dhyana - Contemplation of dharana practice

-reflection and contemplation of the dharana practice

-the mind processing subject matter from dharana experience (this is usually also a one-pointed focus)

8. Samadhi: The last of the 8 limbs where the mind becomes absorbed into a greater, higher sense of self and reality through meditation

-means "joining, combining, or bringing together in a harmonious state

-state of "oneness" through contemplation and meditation

-sense of bliss