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Active Lifestyle - The Foundations of Yoga

What are the eight foundations of Yoga?

In the West we often focus on Asana, which is one of the eight foundations of yoga. Meaning different postures and poses. However there is a lot more to yoga then meets the eye. So while it's all well and good scowling through Instagram at impressive body poses and silhouettes, yoga is not a superficial hobby, in fact it's quite the opposite, it has depth and focuses on your mental and spiritual growth.

More people across the world are acknowledging the benefits yoga has on their wellbeing and how this can make a positive impact on their mental and physical strength, therefore creating a better environment for all. Being conscientious and empathetic plays a big part in yoga, this is because in order to feel connected to the practice, you need to be connected to all and this can only be achieved though understanding and mindfulness (of the planet, environment and humanity).

So while we need to look after our bodies, treasure them like temples by living a healthy and active life. We also need to feed our minds for our wellbeing. Here is a list of the eight foundations of yoga:

  • Yama – Restraints on behaviour

  • Niyama – Spiritual observances

  • Asana – Practice of specific postures

  • Pranayama – Breathing techniques to increase energy

  • Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses and focusing the mind on the higher levels of consciousness

  • Dharana – ConcentrationDyhana – Meditation

  • Samadhi – Complete absorption 

Behaviour (Yamas) for a healthy mind:

This means non-violence in thoughts, actions and words. This is the first of the 5 Yamas:

  • Ahimsa – Non violence

  • Satya – Truthfulness

  • Asteya – Not stealing and not taking what is freely given, including the opposition of exploitation, social injustice and oppression

  • Brahmacarya – Continence to overcome desires

  • Aparigraha – Non coveting to let go of everything we do not need

The Yamas are universal vows, unconditioned by place, time and class, to look after you body, mind and soul. So to truly practice yoga one must put these foundations into action.