There are 8 steps or limbs from which a human can learn and go through to attain self-realisation. This process was written by a Sage in India named Patanjali Maharishi.
He assimilated the 1800 different types of yoga into a workable system for people to understand and use. These are now known as the 8 Limbs of Patanjali or the 8 Limbs of Yoga.
When I first heard about the 8 Limbs of Patanjali I was sitting in a Philosophy class at AdiYog Peeth in Rishikesh, India. I was absolutely astonished and delighted that someone had neatly organised the steps to achieving self-realisation… enlightenment. I had never heard it put in such simple terms before.
Interestingly, from my own experience, one goes through the Limbs simultaneously, as a tree would grow its own limbs. As one deepens into the Yamas and NiYamas the other steps/limbs naturally evolve and occur in a person’s life. Hence, the reason why all the great spiritual teachers around the world and from different cultures, even in the Bible, suggest the Yamas as an important aspect of daily life.
The Yamas are:
- Ahimsa (non-harming or non-violence in thought, word and deed)
- Satya (truthfulness)
- Asteya (non-stealing)
- Brahmacharya (celibacy or ‘right use of energy’)
- Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding)
5/10 of the Ten Commandments from the Bible:
- Thou shalt not mu rder
- Thou shalt not commit adultery
- Thou shalt not steal
- Though shalt not bear false witness
- Thou shalt not covet
You’ll find similarly across many religions and cultures. So, to me this looks like the first steps in order to raise your energetic vibration and attain self-realisation and enlighenment. Yamas is described as putting your focus on doing right or good things to others and in the world.
NiYamas is the second Limb and it describes a process of focusing on SELF, for personal development and spiritual development.
- Saucha (self cleanliness and purification, including what you eat, think and do)
- Santosha (feeling peace, contentment, joy – acceptance)
- Tapas (self-discipline, to focus one’s mind)
- Svadhyaya (study of self and one’s own patterns, personal development self improvement)
- Ishvara pranidhana (surrender to a higher source, realise that you are not your body, you are higher consciousness experiencing a physical body)
I found the steps fascinating so asked one of the teachers at AdiYog Peeth to create a video for my graduate students of the MYSTERIES OF A MODERN MYSTIC 21-DAY ONLINE COURSE. As you’ve run across my blog I think you deserve to see the video too. 🙂 (I’m in the process of getting another video on the topic too, so stay tuned!)