The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which are thought to have been written some time between 100 BCE and 500 CE. In this text there are 8 “limbs” of yoga: Yama the five abstentions: how we relate to the external world. Ahimsa: non-violence, inflicting no injury or harm to others or to one’s self. Satya: truth in word and thought. Asteya: non-covetousness Brahmacharya: using sexual energy for connection to our spiritual self and not to use sexual energy in ways that might harm others. Also, responsible behavior with respect to our goal of moving toward the truth. Aparigraha: non-possessiveness; non-hoarding Niyama the five observances: how we relate to ourselves, the inner world. Shaucha: cleanliness of body and mind. Santosha: satisfaction; satisfied with what one has. Tapas: austerity and associated observances for body discipline and thereby mental control. Svadhyaya: study of the Vedic scriptures to know about God and the soul, which leads to introspection on a greater awakening to the soul and God within, Ishvarapranidhana: surrender to (or worship of) God. Asana: Discipline of the body: rules and postures to keep it disease-free and for preserving vital energy. Correct postures are a physical aid to meditation, for they control the limbs and nervous system and prevent them from producing disturbances. Pranayama: control of life force energies. Pratyahara: withdrawal of senses from their external objects. Dharana: concentration upon a physical object, such as a flame of a lamp, the midpoint of the eyebrows, or the image of a deity. Dhyana: steadfast meditation. Samadhi: oneness with the object of meditation.
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