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  • Writer's pictureDr. Deepa Nair


When one wants to pursue the path of yoga, it is important to know where to start. Not only that, it is also important to know what the steps are and how to follow them. Lucky for us, sage Patanjali has given us the exact steps and guidelines on how to inculcate yoga into our lives. According to Patanjali yoga is 8 limbed, hence the name ashtanga yoga. They are: 1. YAMA – these are the 5 principles one must follow to lead an ideal life a. Ahimsa – non violence b. Satya – truth c. Asteya – non stealing d. Brahmacharya – celibacy e. Aparigraha – non possessiveness

2. NIYAMA – these are the 5 virtues or habits one must develop a. Shaucha - cleanliness b. Santosha - contentment c. Tapa - endurance d. Swadhaya – self study e. Ishwara pranidhana - devotion

3. ASANA – practice of different yogic postures

4. PRANAYAMA – the art of breath control

5. PRATYAHARA – directing the focus of the mind inwards rather than outwards

6. DHARANA – concentration or focusing the mind on one object

7. DHYANA – defocusing

8. SAMADHI – salvation / moksha / becoming one with the almighty

** Food for thought - It is interesting to note that here, Asana is the 3rd rung in this ladder and there are 10 basic rules and regulations to be followed before that. How many of us are able to follow even one of them?

Dr. Deepa Nair (BAMS, MD-YOGA)

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