Patanjali and the eight limbs of yoga
Yoga is an ancient system of personal development for body, mind and spirit. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali originate in India more than 2000 years ago and are one of the key texts for the study and practice of Yoga. Patanjali clarified all aspects of Yoga, which provides a path of self-discovery using the Ashtanga, eight limbs of yoga, to attain realisation:
1. Yama (5 moral precepts: truth, non violence, non-stealing, self-restraint, non-covetousness)
2. Niyama (5 ethical codes: cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self-study and faith)
3. Asana (Culture of yoga posture)
4. Pranayama (Cultivation of yogic breath)
5. Pratyahara (Involution of senses)
6. Dharana (Methods of concentration)
7. Dhyana (Meditative awareness)
8. Samadhi (Absorbsion in a unified state)
Yogis through the centuries have helped to interpret and offer commentary on this very concise source of spiritual wisdom. Most influential of these was the commentary given by the Vedic philosopher and author of the epic Mahabharata, Saga Vyasa in the 14th century.
Thanks to the dedicated work of generations of Yogis, the methods of Yoga described in the Sutras have continuously evolved to become contemporary knowledge, which is relevant to the lives of people all over the world.
Shri BKS Iyengar stands among the great Yogis of India. He exemplified devotion to the pursuit of Yoga. Through his distinctive teaching and numerous books he has propagated and demystified the art of Yoga, enabling millions of people worldwide to discover good health and spiritual evolution.