Eight-Limbed Yoga, also called Ashtanga Yoga (different from the physical practice of the same name), Raja (Royal) Yoga, or the Eightfold Path (particularly in Buddhism), to name a few titles, is a spiritual model that expresses and maps the natural progression that one undergoes when evolving from a karmically-bound and suffering ego-centric conditioned homo sapien into a fully Self-aware human being who is regulated and self-mastered in body-mind, connected to spirit, and liberated from attachments and ignorance in the world.
The Eightfold path, having been observed, studied, and tested for thousands of years by numerous seekers and finders of the Truth of Reality and the Self in different regions of the world over large spans of time, is a phenomenological, ontological, experiential, and practical Spiritual Science, and art of living, that marks, and/or guides, human inner evolution from its lowest state of animal existence to its highest potential to connect to, and rest in, its divine and eternal/limitless nature beyond temporary/limited form.
Working with awareness/consciousness, and all that you are on multiple levels, as your tool, vehicle, material, and platform (among other things) for coming into your full unbounded Self beyond form (while existing in physical form), Eight-Limbed Yoga practice consists of mastery of (you guessed it) 8 specific inner skillsets that, once developed and integrated, create the optimal conditions for Self-Realization that comes after clearing away illusory perceptions/projections of Self and Reality.
Walking this path and developing the fitness and understanding that it brings is what makes it possible for you to become liberated in body-mind and spirit in this lifetime.
The path is as follows: Yamas and Niyamas balance your basic conditioned animal nature in relationship to others and the world. Asanas/physical postures release tension/stagnant energies, regulate your biological systems, and support you to begin developing basic awareness of your inner landscape and your ability to effect it so that you can relax enough to sit comfortably in meditation. Pranayamas connect you with subtler awareness of your life-force energy and your ability to channel, use, and transform it in your body-mind and the world. Pratyaharas draw your energy/attention within to create deeper awareness and self-control. Dharanas support you to develop focus that you can use to gain greater control over your mind and entire being. Dhyanas/meditations support you to gain mastery over your mind and put your mental modifications aside to be in the silence and tranquility that is reflective of your True nature. Samadhi supports you to settle into your nature as the True Seer/Self beyond your body-mind, and this prepares you to remove yourself from attachment to illusions and forms that keep you bound to Karmic suffering in the world, after which, you can merge back into the Absolute liberation of Kaivalya.
As you move up the Eightfold path to higher states of awareness, you gain deeper knowledge and understanding of who/what you are (and by the extension of our shared oneness, who/what everyone/everything else is as well).
Coming Into Your Self
Walking this Eight-Limbed path supports you to break free of your animal conditioning, move beyond your socially constructed false-sense-of-self called the ego, learn that you can, and learn how to, impact and manage your body-mind vessel and your life force energy/power within you–channeled through/by your breath and other subtle/tangible aspects of your being.
This path empowers you to break away from the illusion that anyone or anything else controls your personal world or has ultimate control over you or the ability to define you, or how you are expressed in the world. It also further breaks through the illusion that your, or anyone else’s, “value” is determined by external or temporary factors and not your innate eternal essence that is unchanged/unbounded by form or experience.
This path is how you come into your Self as eternal spirit and pure awareness, and break free from the illusion that you are only a personal body-mind, or a social construct fabricated in/by dysregulated minds, destined to suffer for objects and fleeting illusions in/for this temporary, ever-changing, world. This path brings you back into your nature as an expression/aspect of the divine.
For A Full Introduction To Yoga And Meditation Practice, Be Sure To Enroll In Our Introductory Course (You Must Be A Free Spirit Member–Initial Participation Level In This Community–To Get Started)
Thank you for reading.
If you enjoyed this post or found it useful, please be sure to like, comment, and share.
You can also connect with me on Social Media for ongoing inspiration on your Yoga and Meditation journey.
And if you have a question that you would like answered in a blog post or video, please submit your inquiry here!