What are the 8 Limbs of Yoga, History and Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga Basics for a Healthy and Prosperous Life

 Ashtanga Yoga refers to the 8 limbs of Yoga, in which Maharshi Patanjali classified the Vast Yoga. What are the 8 Limbs of Yoga? Yoga is mainly classified in these eight Anga or Limbs or parts. These Ashtanga are the eight ways of performing Yoga. It is one of the foremost needs in today's world. Like all of us, today are overwhelmed with Stress, Anxiety, Diseases, Obesity, etc. These Ashtangas help us in relieving stress and in leading a Peaceful Constructive Life.

What are the 8 Limbs of Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga

The 8 Limbs of Yoga or Anga of Ashtanga are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. Under these 8 Limbs of Yoga a Yogi or Practitioner practices The Complete Yoga. Each of these Limbs supports the successful practice of the other Limbs. Researches and Studies suggest that 99% of the total human population is using only around 8 to 10% of their Total Potential. Ashtanga Yoga helps in unleashing the inner strength and pushes us to give our 100%. Yoga is ancient but it is Scientifically proven that it was, is, and will always be a highly effective knowledge above the barrier of time. In today's scenario, it is required to make the maximum usage of our capabilities to survive. It is said that humans are unaware of the Potential they are built with. It is also observed that when in danger a person gets infinite power. The world terms it as Miracle. But the reality is that we have a tremendous amount of energy within us. All we have to do is to activate it. Ashtanga Yoga is the easiest and most effective way to do so. Each of these 8 Limbs of Yoga serves various functions, taken together which results in Miracles in Life. Yoga literally means to sum up. While practicing Ashtanga Yoga what we actually do is sum up several body parts, thoughts, and soul. Ashtanga Yoga as the name suggests, in Sanskrit Ashta means eight and Anga means Limb Since It is classified into these eight angas or 8 limbs hence we also call Ashtanga Yoga as the 8 Limbs of Yoga.
These are the 8 ways of performing Yoga.


Yamas are the ethical-moral practices that a Yogi shall perform for the purity of soul and well being of the human body. These are the external disciplines that one must follow to lead a pure life. Patanjali described the Yamas as to Practice Ahimsa which means Non-Violence, Satya which refers path of Truth, Asteya i.e. Not to Steal, Brahmacharya meaning Chastity and Aparigraha that means not having feelings of Possessiveness and greed.


Niyama is a Sanskrit word which means Rules. These are the internal disciplines which are mandatory for proper functioning of body. In Niyama, Maharshi Patanjali included Shaucha - Mansa Vacha Karmana i.e. Cleanliness of mind, body, karma, and speech, Santosha which means satisfaction and gratification, Tapas that refers Perseverance and belief in God, Swadhyaya which means self-study and the study of Vedas, Ishwerpranidhana that means surrender to God and belief in the union of God and oneself.


Asana is the third of 8 Limbs of Yoga. The term Asana means holding some special posture for a specific span of time. There are several asanas that most of us have heard of. Different Asanas serve different purposes. Thus, one can choose a specific asana as per his requirements. These Asana find great application in improving concentration, getting flexibility, weight loss, etc.


Pranayama simply means to extend or restrain breathe. Maharshi Patanjali has described a number of ways for this Breath Control. Breathe can be controlled by controlling the time and pace of inhalation and exhalation. Pranayama is the easiest and most basic way of performing Ashtanga Yoga that yields miraculous Results.


The Five Senses are the doors of our bodies. Pratyahara is controlling these five senses and check any evil to enter through these doors. It literally means opposing any intakes that can harm its purity.


In Sanskrit, Dharana means to hold, maintain, or keep something for a while. It practices keeping mind at a particular state and concentrate or focus on that particular thing.


Dhyana refers to Meditation. It is the broader form of Dharana. In meditation one focuses and concentrates on a particular thought, karma, or thing to attain a mentally clear, emotionally peaceful, and stable state. Hence it increases the concentration of the Practitioner.


Samadhi is the eighth and the final Limb of the 8 Limbs of Yoga. It is the attainment of oneness among oneself and the Universe. It's the name of the feeling that God is within me and I am within God. There are no boundaries that separate me from the whole of the Universe. Thus Samadhi is the Union of oneself with the entire world or the Almighty.


Maharshi Patanjali who is known to be the founder of Yoga, in his Yoga Sutras defined these 8 limbs of Yoga. People who lack knowledge believe that Yoga means Asanas. But in reality, it is just one limb of very vast Yoga. Since in itself only Asana is not 100% capable of unleashing infinite hidden powers. One will have to perform Dhyana or Meditation as well to relieve mental stress. You will also need to perform Pranayama to purify your soul and bring the highly needed Peace to Life. One will have to follow Niyama to get the best results. Thus it is very important to have the knowledge of Ashtanga Yoga and to practice them all.

Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga

  Practicing Ashtanga Yoga or 8 Limbs of Yoga in the long-run yields several benefits that manifest as the body responds. Some important and what we need today are
  • Ashtanga Yoga relieves stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders.
  • It increases the strength of the body, muscles, and nerves.
  • It brings flexibility to the body.
  • Ashtanga is used to lose bodyweight and gain body shape.
  • It unleashes hidden inner power.
  • Ashtanga Yoga increases efficiency.
  • It boosts immunity towards diseases.
  • These 8 limbs improve focus, concentration, and creativity.
  • Ashtanga Yoga helps in controlling blood pressure and sugar levels.
  • Since it brings Peace of Mind hence these Limbs control anger and impulsive nature.
  • This practice supports the proper functioning of Lungs.
  • It improves the functioning of the heart and several other organs.
  • These Angas even treat insomnia and improve sleep quality.
  • It treats constipation.
  • It is very useful in controlling various phobia.


  8 Limbs of Yoga is a great and very effective tool to get a peaceful, constructive, and successful Life. Since The fast running world has produced a lot of unwanted and fatal stress, anxiety, and depression in everybody's Life. Thus everybody should try highly promising and scientifically proven Ashtanga Yoga to lead a healthy, stress-free, and quality life. But it should always be remembered that one must start his practice with care and under the supervision of an expert. It is highly recommended to start slowly and continue steadily. Because doing fast can lead to the wrong practice that can lead to lower success rates. Feel the Love in the Universe and start practicing the 8 Limbs of Yoga today.

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12 comments on “What are the 8 Limbs of Yoga, History and Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga

[…] is one of the most important parts of Maharshi Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.Meditation is an approach to train the mind, just as fitness is an approach to train the body. But […]

[…] constitutes a set of protocols for a Yogi in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. For successful Ashtanga Yoga, it is mandatory to find a practical way to practice […]

[…] is the second anga of Ashtanga Yoga. Niyama are the Internal Disciplines as defined in Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. The English […]

[…] Pranayama), Posture or body (In Asana). Hence Dharana is an important practice for other Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. If you have any problems related to senses like sight, hearing, etc. Practicing Dharana can be a […]

[…] than any other Limbs of Yoga. It is the outcome of Successful Practice of first seven Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. Samadhi is Union of Atma (Soul) with Parmatma (The […]

[…] Third Limb of Ashtanga Yoga is the Asana. Asana means Posture or a particular seat designed to serve a particular cause. Asana […]

[…] is considered as a Sanjeevani in Ashtanga Yoga. It yields Super Natural Powers to the Yogi. It helps in thorough Development of Body and Removal […]

[…] Your head, neck, back and legs must be straight during the practice. Surya Namaskar makes 8 Limbs of Yoga like Asana, Meditation and Samadhi […]

[…] you want to know more and improve your Yoga Practice through Guided Ashtanga Yoga then you can buy the 6 in 1 DVD set from the List. This is a set of video series specially designed […]

[…] Make Karma impure. Purity of Karma i.e. the harmony of mind, body and soul is must for successful Ashtanga Yoga. Thus, Removal of these attachments is very important in […]

[…] in Buddhism. His path to enlightenment is called The Noble Eightfold Path. He followed all the 8 Limbs of Yoga to relinquish his quest for Knowledge and […]

[…] thoughts. Hence for a healthy body, it is very necessary to have over these. For thought control, Yoga works in a miraculous way. Similarly, Ayurveda helps us in developing consciousness of what we […]

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