The eight limbs of yoga - part two

Updated: Jan 28, 2019



The third limb of yoga is probably the most known and often is interpreted as yoga itself: Asana, which means the physical posture.


Practising the postures can bring steadiness into our lives by acquiring more balance in the postures as well as encouraging a mental equilibrium which calms our minds. The practise of the Asanas has evolved over many centuries with a focus on exercising every muscle, glands and nerves going deep into the fascia of our bodies. Practising these postures will help us developing agility, balance, endurance, discipline and vitality, physically and mentally.


Equally important in yoga is the fourth limb, Pranayama. Prana translates into breath, respiration, life, energy, strength. Many believe that the quality of our breaths determines the quality of our lives. Various breathing techniques teach us to control our breath, usually to slow the breath down to hereby calm our mind. When we consciously slow down our breath rate, we stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system. This causes the heart rate to slow down and the blood pressure to drop, the whole body and mind are relaxed and calm.


Now we can enter the next limb of yoga which is Pratyahara. Practising Pratyahara brings us from the external world towards our internal world, towards a deeper level of awareness and mediation. When we reach this stage we self-examine and explore our lives by withdrawing ourselves from any external influence. Here we can achieve stillness, focus and patience.