Patanjali's 8 limbs

योगेन चित्तस्य पदेन वाचां मलं शरीरस्य च वैद्यकेन। योऽपाकरोत्तं प्रवरं मुनीनां पतञ्जलिं प्राञ्जलिरानतोऽस्मि॥
Yōgēna cittasya padēna vācāṁ malaṁ śarīrasya ca vaidyakēna. Yōpākarōttaṁ pravaraṁ munīnāṁ patañjaliṁ prāñjalirānatōsmi
English translation: I bow with my hands together to the eminent sage Patañjali, who removed the impurities of the mind through yoga, of speech through grammar, and of the body through medicine.

Above you see the invocation of Patanjali. We might chant this a lot in future classes. This is not a religious act, it is a custom of respect and a wonderful tradition from the ancient world. Once a master has proven to be of the most profound wisdom and knowledge, we invoke his wisdom and guidance as it may support us in our learning.

Patanjali was an Indian sage and yogi. His yoga sutras are the foundation of yoga as it has been practiced until about 100 years ago. His yoga sutras are the foundational writing of most of today's known and practiced yoga philosophy. However, he did not mention much about the physical practice that was not important until it was heavily introduced about 100 years ago in what was known as the global physical culture movement. You will learn much more about it in the more advanced teacher training that will build on this foundation. When the physical aspect was introduced, the meditative practice that yoga is truly about was made aspect of the physical, whereas Patanjali only mentioned keeping your body in a shape that allows you to sit comfortably in meditation. Yoga suddenly makes way more sense to people once they understand it. There seems very little reason to sculpt your body for years in daily exercises when the goal is to calm the waves of the mind. Once you understand this, it also makes far more sense when watching other spiritual or even religious practices. You will observe that they all follow the same pattern and yoga is no different. Modern yoga ads a lot of physical health aspects which is great! However, even original yoga does require a certain amount of fitness and flexibility to keep a good posture (asana) during meditation.

On a funny side note, please understand that ancient people did not all have chairs. They liked to sit on the floor, cross-legged, as they went about their things. If they all would have had chairs or were used to sitting on chairs, there would be little exercises today that help you to sit on the floor. People would have sat on chairs to meditate. As a future meditation/mindfulness teacher, please don't "make" your students sit on the floor if they are not used to it. It only adds a layer of discomfort and distracts from the practice. Patanjali would agree with me.

You can then add this in later stages of practice to optimize another effect in energy through the body or whatever you would like to accomplish. There are some amazing energy concepts in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and other standard works on yoga but those are for the more advanced practitioner to explore. Imagine you can stop hunger by sitting on a heel. How amazing would that be? Explore all the many amazing things you can do with your body. The human body is the most complex miracle on the planet. Just don't overload your students with it from day 1.

(8 limbs graphic)

The 8 limbs of yoga, which are based on Patanjali's yoga sutras, give structure to your personal transformation. It begins with your behavior in society and moves towards union with all. Once you realize the union, your teachings will become more profound, and more precise as they will come from the vantage point of knowing about being and becoming.

I encourage you to join as many live classes as possible as it will help you in your personal development through immersion and mingling with like-minded people. We will extensively learn and understand everything about the 8 limbs (and some other systems) in the spirit as intended by Patanjali.

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