The Eight Limbs of Yoga: An 18-part mini-course
The Mastery of Yoga must not be measured simply by the ability to master the techniques of yoga like asana and pranayama, but by how it influences our day-to-day living, how it enhances our relationship and how it promotes clarity and peace of mind.
– TKV Desikachar
Resting in the quiet of a rainy morn, the teachings of the Eight Limbs of Yoga resonate with my soul. It has been a creative and insightful journey to write and reflect on these ancient teachings for modern day life. Over the past few months sharing my personal journey and perspective has strengthened my own clarity and peace of mind. If you missed the 18-part series, it’s available to you starting here>>>
The Eight Limb philosophy is detailed in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and is known as Classical Yoga. It is a path to spiritual development through awakening to our natural state of being.
The journey takes us from the teachings of ethical behavior to the importance of bodily care and energy flow into the power of quieting our mind and senses. From these practices, we may experience the peace and joy of present moment awareness to listening deeply to the wisdom of our spirit liberating us from the throes of suffering. It is here that we experience the bliss of our existence.
Daily life is full of teachings that we can easily relate to any of these limbs. I have shared many of my own translations hoping that you, too, may find solace in this journey to the heart.
After 35 years of integrating Yoga into my own life, I continue to awaken new layers of consciousness as the veils of delusion appear and fall away. It is those veils that I would like to address in the next series of teachings on Yoga Philosophy, known as the Kleshas. While the Eight Limbs offer practical guidelines for a fulfilling and sacred life, our human nature comes with limiting behavioral tendencies that separate us from this natural state of delight. The more we understand them, the easier they are to recognize and therefore, change.
To journey inward and seek clarity, there seems to be no end to the awakening that comes from deep learning. Personally, these past two months have reinforced my own dedication to studying, learning, and teaching yoga in all its many facets. Reading Stephen Covey’s book The Great Work of Your Life offers stories of many great teachers, artists, writers, activists, and scientists that embraced their life’s work (dharma) to the fullest. It also exposes the challenges they faced in doing so.
This has led me to recognize that the more earnest I am toward my Yogic life, the more my unconscious conditioning is revealed bringing the opportunity of becoming that much more truthful with myself. The bible states in John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” And I say, “Amen to that.” Know your truth and let the Light of God shine within you.
Join me for the next five teachings to remove those veils of delusion and set yourself free.