Yoga Beyond Asana

The Eighth Limb of Yoga: Samadhi

The eighth limb of yoga is what we refer to as samadhi. Following dhyana, or meditation, in which concentration is maintained for longer periods of time, samadhi involves the union of the meditator with the object of meditation. It unites the seer with the seen. As... Read More

The Seventh Limb of Yoga: Dhyana

Dhyana builds on the previous limb, dharana (one-pointed concentration). Dhyana is meditation. Think of dhyana as the maintenance of dharana for longer periods of time. When the mind is focused on one object, or activity, without interruption, this is dhyana. Says... Read More

The Sixth Limb of Yoga: Dharana

Dharana is the state of one-pointed concentration, when the mind is able to continuously focus on one object without distraction. The limbs leading up to dharana serve to build up to it: asana builds strength, making the body more comfortable; pranayama helps to build... Read More

The Fifth Limb of Yoga: Pratyahara

Pratyahara is, simply put, the withdrawal of the senses, or “to withdraw oneself from that which nourishes the senses,” according to T.K.V. Desikachar, the son of the man responsible for bringing yoga to the West, Krishnamacharya. Desikachar goes on to say that, “The... Read More

The Fourth Limb of Yoga: Pranayama

The word pranayama contains two parts: prana and ayama. Prana refers to the life force, vitality, or energy that sustains us, and indeed, sustains the entire universe. Ayama means “extension” or “expansion.” Pranayama, therefore, means “extension of life force.” Prana... Read More

The Third Limb of Yoga: Asana

You may already be familiar with the word “asana,” as it is the term used to describe the postures taken during a yoga practice. In fact, asana has two meanings: it is both the place where a yoga practitioner sits, and the manner in which he or she sits. This duality... Read More