Moscow Yoga Center

The Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga

Compiled by the Sage Patanjali Maharishi in the Yoga Sutras, the Eight Limbs are a progressive series of steps or disciplines which purify the body and mind, ultimately leading the yogi to enlightenment. These 8 limbs are:

  1. YAMAS – The Yamas or restraints (Don’ts) are divided into five moral injuctions, aimed at destroying the lower nature.
    Ahimsa = abstention from violence = non-violence to all beings
    Satya = abstention from lying = truthfulness
    Asteya = abstention from theft = non-stealing
    Brahmacharya or moderation in all things (control of all senses). Also refers to celibacy
    Aparigraha = abstention from possessions = non-covetousness
  2. NIYAMAS – The Niyamas or observances (Do’s) are also divided into five and complete the ethical precepts started with the Yamas:
    Saucha = purity (internal and external cleanliness)
    Santosha = contentment
    Tapas = austerity
    Swadhyaya = self study (loosely translated, it can be taken to mean introspection)
    Isvara Pranidhana = surrender to the divinity within the individual (surrender to God’s Will)
  3. ASANAS – Postures of the body
  4. PRANAYAMA – regulation or control of prana (‘life force’) or vital breath
  5. PRATYAHARA – withdrawal of the senses in order to still the mind
  6. DHARANA – concentration (fixing the attention on a single object)
  7. DHYANA – meditation is that state of pure thought and absorption in the object of meditation
  8. SAMADHI – the superconscious state. In Samadhi non-duality or oneness is experienced. This is the deepest and highest state of consciousness where body and mind have been transcended and the Yogi is one with the Self or God.


  1. “8 Limbs Of Yoga”
  2. “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”