The 8 Fold Path of Yoga

The 8 Fold Path of Yoga

Seltenly mentioned in Yoga classes is the philosophy behind Yoga. The “Yoga” that most of us all know and love is only one small part of the Yoga Path. Patanjali’s 8 Fold Path or 8 Limbed Path is progressive beginning with the Yamas.

  1. Yama –  the external rules, for interacting with the world around you or “restraint”, the universal moral observances or commandments
  2. Niyama – the internal rules for personal conduct, self-purification by discipline, also “restraint”
  3. Asana – physical postures, what we commonly know as Yoga
  4. Pranayama – diverse breathing exercises, rhythmic control of the breath
  5. Pratyahara – withdrawal of the mind from the senses and exterior objects
  6. Dharana – deep concentration
  7. Dhyana –  Meditation
  8. Samadhi – Nirvana or enlightenment, a state of super-consciousness brought about by profound Meditation

If I could only have ONE Yoga book, it would be…

Light on Yoga: The Classic Guide to Yoga by the World's Foremost Author

B.K.S. Iyengar’s legendary work, Light on Yoga.

The Stages of Yoga, as well as a beautifully straight forward overview of the philosophical side of Yoga, are among its vast realm of information. The book is filled with hundreds of photos of precisely executed Asanas. Some are suitable for beginners, as well as many advanced Asanas and Pranayama exercises. Here’s a link if you’d like to check this out on It is still reasonably priced. I got mine used for around $15.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are also explained here in depth. Nothing is left out, The Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads.

Depending on who you ask, there are 5 or 10 Yamas. Wikipedia lists both.

The five Yamas listed by Patañjali in Yogasūtra 2.30 are:[11]

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings[12]
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood[12][13]
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing[12][14]
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity,[13] marital fidelity or sexual restraint[15]
  5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice,[12] non-possessiveness[13]

The Yamas 10 are:

      1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence
      2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness
      3. Asteya (अस्तेय): not stealing
      4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity,[13] marital fidelity or sexual restraint[15]
      5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness
      6. Kṣamā (क्षमा): forgiveness[19]
      7. Dhṛti (धृति): fortitude
      8. Dayā (दया): compassion[19]
      9. Ārjava (आर्जव): non-hypocrisy, sincerity[20]
      10. Mitāhāra (मिताहार): measured diet

Source: Wikipedia

ByKim Beinke

I am a certified Yoga teacher with over 500 hours of Yoga training with my certification from the Paracelsus Heilpraktiker Schule in Gießen, Germany. My additional certification from the German Red Cross with 84 Yoga hours of training specializes in Yoga for seniors.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.