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Yoga Lowdown, Antaranga (internal) Yoga
April 19, 2015

Yoga - Antaranga (internal) Yoga

There are eight limbs of yoga as described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.

Over the last couple of months I had hoped to give an overview of the eight limbs so the reader may begin to understand the other aspects of yoga beyond asana (posture).

The February issue of Yoga Lowdown was about the first 2 limbs and the March issue was about the third and forth limb, if you missed either check out the archive.

This issue is about limbs 5 through 8. The first 4 limbs are Bahiranga (external) yoga; the last 4 limbs are Antaranga (internal) yoga.

These practices are unobservable from the outside.

5th limb - Pratyahara

5th limb - Pratyahara- the senses are brought under control.

This does not mean that the sense are dull, it is about how we react to the stimulus. This was much easier before the days of cell phones.

Remember when you were busy doing something and the phone rang in the next room? You would just continue doing what you were doing and let the answering machine get the call.

Nowadays we feel as if we need to react right away, answer calls when we are talking to someone in front of us or driving.

When practicing Pratyahara we don’t feel the need to instantly react to everything.

6th limb - Dharana

6th limb - Dharana is the state of concentration on a point or task in which one is completely absorption.

Many people experience this type of absorption when doing something they love to do.

Whenever someone startles you and you feel as if they brought you back from another place, you were in a deep state of absorption and concentration.

7th limb – Dhyana is meditation

7th limb – Dhyana is meditation.

“As the filament in an electric bulb glows and illuminates when there is uninterrupted current of electricity, the yogi’s mind will be illuminated by Dhyana.” – BKS Iyengar

In the Iyengar Yoga System, meditation is not taught as a separate subject.

The practice of yoga is all meditation; the meditation is in each pose and each breath of Pranayama.

8th limb - Samadhi

8th limb - Samadhi- the end of the Sadhaka’s (practioner’s) quest.

“At the peak of his meditation, he passes into the state of Samadhi, where his body and senses are at rest as if he is asleep, his faculties of mind and reasons are alert as if he is awake, yet he has gone beyond consciousness.

The person in a state of Samadhi is fully conscious and alert.” – BKS Iyengar

Quotes by BKS Iyengar are from the introduction in Light on Yoga.

To see the previous issues check out the archive.

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Marj Rash
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