Niyama : Internal restraints – Eight fold limbs path

Niyamas (Internal-restraints) Ethical guidelines for the yogi pertaining to her daily activities. Observances of one’s own physical appearance, actions, words and thoughts.

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 Niyamas (Internal-restraints)

Ethical guidelines for the yogi pertaining to her daily activities. Observances of one’s own physical appearance, actions, words and thoughts.

These also are 5 in number,

Shauca (Purity):

Cleanliness, orderliness, precision, clarity, balance. Internal and external purification. Cleanliness.  

Santosa (Contentment):

Equanimity, peace, tranquility, acceptance of the way things are. Contentment.

Tapas (Heat):

Burning desire for reunion with God expressed through self-discipline, purification, willpower, austerity, and patience. Self-mortification.

Svadhyaya (Study of the Self):

Self-inquiry, mindfulness, self-study, study of the scriptures, chanting and recitation of the scriptures. Searching for the Unknown (divinity) in the Known (physical world). Scriptural Study.  

Ishvara Pranidhana (Devotional offering to the Lord):

Surrender to God, open-heartedness, love, “not my will, but Thy will be done,” willingness to serve the Lord. Surrender to God.

Relevance.  Learning the lessons of the Yamas and Niyamas is a daily one.  In particular, I have to consistently move my inner dialogue for being self-judgmental.  I can get into the mental state where I draw conclusions about myself, and my self-worth from what I have achieved (at work, at home or on the mat).  Ideally I should be able to honestly (Satya) acknowledge that I have not done by best (i.e. take responsibility), however stay present to consider and learn lessons why (but not then draw conclusions about myself for that situation).

Yamas : Behaviour restraints control Ashtanga Yoga- Eight fold limbs path Patanjali

Yamas (Behaviour restraints)

Ethical guidelines for the yogi pertaining to her relationship with others in society, the outer environment, or Nature. All the yamas apply to actions, words, and thoughts. These are 5 in number

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Ahimsa (Non-harming)

Loving kindness to others, not blocking or obstructing the flow of Nature, compassion, mercy, gentleness. non-violence to all beings  

Satya (Truthfulness)

Being genuine and authentic to our inner nature, having integrity, honesty, being honourable, not lying, not concealing the truth, not downplaying or exaggerating. Truthfulness.

Asteya (Non-stealing)

Not taking what is not yours—money, goods, or credit. Not robbing people of their own experiences and freedom. Non-desire for another’s possessions, qualities, or status. Non-stealing.

Brahmacharya (Walking or having ethical conduct like God)

Relating to another with unconditional love and integrity, without selfishness or manipulation. Practicing sexual moderation, restraining from sexual misconduct, and avoiding lustful behaviour. Celibacy/chastity.

Aparigraha (Non-clinging)

Non-grasping, non-receiving, non-possessiveness, voluntary simplicity, not accumulating things beyond what is necessary, non-attachment to possessions, greedless ness. Non-covetousness.

Krishnamacharya Yoga : TKV Desikachar Indra Devi Pattabhi Jois

Krishnamacharya can be credited as “the father of modern yoga”. The origins of yoga itself are obscure in ancient history and are estimated as being somewhere between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago, but it is clear that until Krishnamacharya’s era (1888 to 1989 CE) yoga was practiced mainly by a small group of ascetics who tended to live in caves, removed from society. Krishnamacharya might be considered as the yogi who broke yoga into the mainstream, all the while shying away from fame and fortune.

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Krishnamacharya taught all of the key figures in modern-day yoga, including T.K.V. Desikachar (his son), the late Indra Devi, Pattabhi Jois (the founder of Ashtanga yoga), B.K.S. Iyengar (founder of Iyengar yoga). Much mystery commonly remains about yoga, but the core of Krishnamacharya’s system is simplicity itself once understood. He taught that yoga itself was divided into six broad tools (or krama, in Sanskrit):

• Srsti – “growth”; suitable for the young, mainly focused on developing strengh, flexibility and power.

• Siksana – “perfection”.

• Raksana – “maintenance”; suitable for adults.

• Adhmatya – “spiritual matters”.

• Cikitsa – “healing” or “therapy”.

• Sakti or Shakti – “energy”;

the most abstract, esoteric and mystical parts of yoga, to do with spiritual transcendence. Only ever practiced by a few “elite” yogis (noting that elitism is not a yogic concept). In the West, most popular yoga teaching is heavily focused on asana practice, which is just one of the “eight limbs” of yoga, as defined by Patanjali. However to focus so strongly on fixed regimes of asana is not a fair representation of Krishnamacharya’s yoga. In Krishnamacharya’s system, only Srsti, Siksana and Cikitsa were focused on asana, with the other three kramas sharing equal importance. Krishnamacharya taught yoga as a blended balance between all six kramas, and it is said that he became the teacher each student needed, rather than resorting to rigid repetition of set sequences (such as in Ashtanga yoga, which is derived from Krishnamacharya’s book Yoga Makaranda) or focusing only on physical perfection and alignment (such as in Iyengar yoga). Modern forms of yoga can be analysed in terms of the six kramas. The asana sequences of Ashtanga yoga, with their heavy aerobic focus, can be considered Srsti, but also Raksana once mastered. The heat produced by Ujayyi breath during an Ashtanga session causes sweat, which is said to purify the body; this can be considered Cikitsa. Iyengar yoga, with its avoidance of vinyasa and focus on alignment is more based on Siksana and Raksana and not so much Srsti. Pranayama is Adhmatya, with elements of Cikitsa and Sakti. Yoga overall is one of the six classical schools of Indian philosophy, Samkhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta, and draws heavily on Samkhya, the oldest of the six. Krishnamacharya studied all six philosophies, achieving preeminence in everything that he studied. His approach to teaching yoga was therefore shaped by his knowledge of all of them, as well as Ayurveda and astrology.  

It is said that Krishnamacharya drew upon all of these bodies of knowledge to become the teacher that each student needed. Notably, he rarely taught in groups, and the famous students of his listed above all studied under him individually. A clear distinction between Krishnamacharya’s approach and the more strongly-branded systems can be seen.


Ashtanga Yoga : Raja Yoga – Eight limbs


Raja means “royal”. Raja Yoga is the path of Yoga that focuses on meditation and contemplation. It is based on the Eight Limbs of Yoga which was discussed in the Yoga Sutra. The Yoga Sutras are built on a foundation of Samkhya philosophy and the Bhagavad Gita. In the Yoga Sutras, Maharshi Patanjali prescribes adherence to eight “limbs” or steps (the sum of which constitute “Ashtanga Yoga”

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This Yoga path teaches deep self respect through self mastery. The self here is honored. Raja Yoga believes that the universe exists for the self, giving the self an illusion of centrality which results to self respect and respect for all creatures.


Ashtanga Yoga – The Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga

The eight “limbs” or steps are  Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Some yogis categorized these eight steps into two groups. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, and Pratyahara comprise the first group. Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi belong to second group, called Samyama. This categorization is because of no cognizance present among Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

Though there is no cognizance to Dharana, Dhyana and Samadh, they are independent of time and sequence. The result is that they exist independently and also exist simultaneously. Any one, two or three can exist at the same time. When the three stages exist simultaneously then it is called  Samyamah, the simultaneous existence.


 The Yoga of Patanjali is Ashtanga or comprised of 8 limbs,


 Yama / Niyama- are ethical obligations.

 Asana- Postures of the body.                                                                        

 Pranayama – Control of prana or vital breath. Asana, Pranayama are breath control.

 Pratyahara – Pratyahara is sense withdrawal.

 Dharana – Dharana  is fixing the attention on a single object; concentration.

 Dhyana – Dhyana is meditation.

 Samadhi – Samadhi the experience of unity with God (Super-conscious state or trance).

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