Yoga and Eating Disorders

About The Eight Limbs of Yoga

The yoga known to most people in the Western world is limited to the physical exercises or asanas. The other limbs of yoga’s path to self-realization mostly remain unknown .

In the following excerpt from Yoga and Eating Disorders the Eight Limbs of yoga are described briefly by Maria Sorbara Mora in her chapter, "Yamas, Niyamas on the Journey to Recovery from Eating Disorders." Robyn Hussa mentioned these Eight Limbs in her chapter as well and we told readers we would put a brief description on our website.

                                     Namaste,  Carolyn
 

Yamas:

tenants of moral conduct which include widely treasured human characteristics known for centuries as key to living one’s life in freedom.

Niyamas:

observances that foster the ethical and spiritual aspects of the self.

Asanas:

postures that keep the body strong, flexible and relaxed; while strengthening the nervous system and refining inner perception.

Pranayama:

the practice of breathing to fosters the movement of one’s life force.

Pratyahara:

drawing one’s attention toward silence through withdrawal of the senses from external objects.

Dharana:

focused concentration holds the mind to one thought or object.

Dhyana:

meditation aims for sustaining awareness of the Divine under all conditions.

Samadhi:

the super conscious experience of oneness of the soul with the Cosmic Spirit, and the return of the mind into original silence.

Unfortunately, the "yoga" known to most people in the Western world is limited to the physical exercises or asanas. The other limbs of yoga’s comprehensive path to self-realization take a back seat or remain invisible."

"The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root "yuj" which means "to join" or "to yoke." Yoga means union between one’s ego-self (or individual consciousness), and the divine Self (or Universal Consciousness). Therefore, the understanding and practice of yoga embraces connection to something greater than ourselves.

The essence of yoga’s art and science was set forth in systematic form by the ancient sage Patanjali in his short, masterly work, the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali identified the Eightfold Path or the Eight Limbs, which lead toward yoga’s ultimate goal of Self-realization.

The eight limbs do not form a hierarchy, where one element is more important than the others. Instead, picture the eight limbs as arms and legs, connected to one another through the central body of yoga.

© 2018 Carolyn Costin