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The Eight Limbs of Yoga
- Yama: Abstentions and moral restraints. Ethical rules and moral imperatives. Relationship toward others. There are 5 Yama’s (sometimes referred to as “The Dont’s”).
- Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Compassion and practicing nonviolence, non-harming, and non-killing of other living beings (including animals). Cause no injury, and do no harm in your deeds, your words, or even your thoughts.
- Satya (सत्य): Truth, truthfulness, non-falsehood. Be truthful in your thoughts, speech and actions…to others as well as yourself.
- Asteya (अस्तेय): Non-stealing. One must not steal, or even have the intent to steal another’s property through their actions, speech or even thoughts. This included “cheating” through speech or writing, or wanting to cheat even in one’s own thinking. Stealing is just a form of violence and injury to another person (see #1 Ahiṃsā) and is dishonest (see #2 Satya).
- Brahmacārya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint.
- Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.
- Niyama: Ethical observances. The ethical laws that govern our moral nature (sometimes referred to as “The Do’s”).
- Asanas: The postures. All of the physical exercises necessary for keeping the body in perfect condition.
- Prânâyâma – Breathing exercises and breath control.
- Dirgha Breath (DEER-guh): 3-part breath.
- Pratyâhâra: Withdrawal of the senses. Making the mind introspective.
- Dhāraṇā: Concentration
- Dhyāna: Meditation
- Samâdhi: The state of superconsciousness. Full meditative absorption.