The ‘8 Limbs of Yoga’ is a yogic code of life, written by the ancient sage Patanjali, that retains so much relevance in today’s world.
In fact, in our noisy, high-stress, over-stimulated environments, you could say such a code is more needed than ever before.
The ‘8 Limbs of Yoga’ signpost the path to take for healthy, balanced, contented and spiritually rewarding life.
In our previous article we introduced the first 4 limbs, which relate to how we choose to live our life in the physical world, our ethics and values, and how we can start to experience the power of yoga through the practise of the asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises).
We could easily spend our lifetime learning, practising, and perfecting these first four limbs – and there’s a good chance we’d live a long, healthy and happy life doing so!
But for those who’ve practised yoga and meditation regularly for any length of time, as we have at Intui, you’ll know there’s eventually a natural pull to go deeper within our own soul and consciousness, and find out who we really are.
The final 4 limbs mark the route that will help take us there.
They’ll no doubt take you a lifetime to truly master, but they will be worth it.
5) Pratyahara – a withdrawal of the senses
This is not simply about detaching from daily distractions – switching off your phone or turning off the TV – but being able to achieve a state where you can turn your attention inwards, regardless of the activity going on around you.
With pratyahara, we try to leave behind our five worldly senses for periods of time.
We learn to be fully present, and able to appreciate our innermost thoughts and feelings, while allowing the rest of life to flow around us.
It’s the ultimate sensory detox for the mind, and the starting point for achieving true mindfulness in our daily lives.
6) Dharana - signifies focus or concentration
Many of us lack true focus in our lives, but we’re able to reconnect with it simply by adopting a dedicated daily practice.
At Intui we believe that simple healthy rituals can bring a deep sense of natural calm and self awareness. We just have to repeat them often enough!
One way to practise dharana could be to adopt a daily habit of speaking affirmations in front of a mirror each morning to focus our intentions, and imprint them on our thoughts and inner beliefs.
Later on, we might also follow the yogic practice of trataka (candle meditation), where we focus on a flickering candle flame to deepen our powers of concentration.
Just as we build our muscle with regular exercise, our ‘muscle’ of concentration can be built up too.
7) Dhyana – to be completely absorbed in a meditative state
As you can see, step-by-step, each limb takes you deeper within yourself.
At Intui we’ve experienced how powerful a daily practice of meditation can be to bring a sense of peace that starts from within and radiates outwards.
The documented benefits of regular meditation are manifold – ranging from reduced stress and anxiety, improved memory and concentration and greater self confidence, through to measurable physical benefits such as lowered blood pressure and a reduction in perceived pain symptoms.
The more regularly and consistently you practice meditation (start with just 10 minutes a day and work up) the more enhanced these benefits become.
That’s why we’re so dedicated to bringing you ethical accessories that support you on your path to achieve daily mindfulness, effortless relaxation, and eventually deeper levels of meditation.
Quite simply, we know how much these powerful practices can change your life!
8) Samadhi - Bliss or Enlightenment
This is the ultimate goal in yoga. To achieve the highest state of bliss or enlightenment, we need to reach a place where our consciousness can merge with a higher power.
It’s about being able to let go of our ‘mortal coil’ and becoming absorbed into something that might be referred to as ‘the divine’.
We can’t say we’ve yet reached samadhi at Intui, but we’re passionate about helping you enjoy the journey regardless of whether you reach the destination or not!