A Journey Down Patanjali's 8 Limb Path
You may be familiar with Patanjali's 8 limb path, but you may be thinking, "Patan-who?" Patanjali is the author of a book called the Yoga Sutra, which is what most modern day yoga philosophy is based. This book is considered extremely important to the foundation of classical yoga and is a great reference for leading a yogic/healthy lifestyle physically, mentally, and spiritually.
In this book Patanjali wrote about the 8 limb path, and understanding these basics may help you to add a new level to your yoga journey. Most of us come to our mats for the physical practice of yoga (asanas). The asanas are just one of these 8 limbs. This physical practice can lead you to many other beautiful aspects of a yoga practice.
The first aspect of yoga that I discovered after starting my physical yoga practice was Pranayama (breath work.) After just a few experiences with breath work, I was able to realize that I could calm my mind and reduce stress and anxiety simply by controlling my breath.
A sanskrit proverb is written that says, "For breath is life and if you breathe well you will live long on earth." Deep breathing reverses symptoms of stress and creates a calm in the mind and body that activates the parasympathetic nervous system. Some of the health benefits for breath work include reducing anxiety and depression, lowering and stabilizing blood pressure, increasing energy, muscle relaxation, and allows higher levels of oxygen to reach the body's cells and tissues.
Over the next several months, I look forward to sharing with you more of the 8 limb path and the ways that I have discovered that they can make a difference in our lives!