Common in the western world, are three main lineages of Hatha yoga practices; Patanjali Classical Yoga, Advaita Vedanta Yoga and Tantric Yoga*.
During a typical Hatha yoga class, a teacher may discuss the “Limbs or Branches of Yoga.” These limbs comprise the spiritual evolution guidelines and purpose for Yoga practice. Eight limbs philosophy falls under Patanjali Classical Yoga but can be a part of other Yoga traditions.
- Yama – Five ethical standards of living
- Niyama – Five elements of discipline and Spiritual observances
- Saucha – Cleanliness
- Santosha – Contentment
- Tapas – Austerity
- Svadhyaya – Study of self & scriptures
- Isvara pranidhara – Surrender to God
- Asana – Physical postures
- Pranayama – Breath techniques
- Pratyahara – Withdrawal from the senses
- Dharana – Focusing the mind
- Dhyana – Uninterrupted flow of concentration
Each limb prepares the practitioner for the next limb on the tree, culminating in
8. Samadhi – Enduring Calm
*Source & Resource: “Pick Your Yoga Practice: Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga” by Meagan McCrary.