Eight Steps to Freedom

Eight Steps to Freedom

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8 Steps to Freedom

The Eight Fold path we are practicing every day

Like many eastern timeless philosophies for living, pathways were developed by the ancients to map the way for seekers heading for the answers to their biggest questions.

A pathway toward ‘enlightenment’ was the most revered course a person could take in their life and these days these maps are as relevant in a modern world as they were then.

In a busy, stimulated world where we are getting more and more separated from nature, where convenience and technology can have us sleepwalking through our day, it is easy to become separated from our hearts and Yoga is like the map keeping us close to our true nature.

Its a map we can use when we look more deeply into the effects of our yoga practise… is it reducing our stress? Is it opening our minds and allowing us to become more aware of our actions? Is it helping us to understand our emotions such as jealousy, anger, fear and hatred?

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There are four traditional schools of Yoga. Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, and Raja Yoga. They describe various approaches to the practise of yoga and while a yogi or yogini may focus more on one path at different times, they are like four threads that form the larger tapestry of a balanced yoga practise.

The path of practise we are most familiar with here in the west is the path of Raja Yoga, also known as Astanga Yoga (not the modern set series developed by Sri K Pattabhi Jois), the Eight Steps of Yoga. 

It is the path of self-discipline and practice and is often referred to as “classical yoga” as it emphasises meditation, while encompassing the whole of Yoga. 

The steps directly deal with encountering and transcending thoughts of the mind to a clearer, free and awakened state.

The Yoga Sutras, a collection of texts written by a Patanjali drawn from philosophers of centuries of study and practice of yoga, outlines an eight-limbed, step-by-step path for purifying the body and mind. 

Its eventual desired result is to help practitioners cultivate a steady mind, leading to calm bliss. Our most pure and natural state of being.

The Eight Steps or Eight Limbs are known as:

1. Yama - Self-control

2. Niyama - Discipline

3. Asana - Postures and exercises that firmly root the body to the earth

4. Pranayama - Control of life force through the awareness of breathing

5. Pratyahara - Withdrawal of the senses from the external world

6. Dharana - Holding of awareness in concentration

7. Dhyana - Moving into quietness, meditation

8. Samadhi - Absorption into higher realms of consciousness, bliss.


These steps are what we move through everytime you practise, perhaps not in that order but you go through the stages as you land on your mat, move your body with your breath and begin to quieten down from the busyness of life.


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Where it all Began

Where it all Began

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Where It All Began

Everything starts in this moment, here and now.

Welcome to our very first TIY blog entry. We can’t wait to offer you, our community, more in the form of deeper, inspiring thoughts, teachings and dialogue on all aspects of the yoga practice. 


So where to start? Lets start at the beginning.

अथ योगानुशासनम्

atha yoga anuśāsanam

With prayers for divine blessings, now begins an exposition of the sacred art of yoga.

~ Yoga Sutra 1.1

atha - now, auspiciousness, a prayer, a good omen

yoga - joining, union, junction, application, deep meditation, contemplation of the Supreme Spirit

anuśāsanam - advice, direction, guidance given in a procedural form

Whether you have just landed for the first time in the realm of yoga, on this page or been dedicated or dabbling for years, there is something about just landing on the mat as we are, where we are as an accumulation of all our experiences that we can relate to. 

Yoga is an ancient practice, steeped in wisdom from sages and rishis in India who began to open up the exploration of us as individuals as a part of a much grander and intelligent system. The word itself, yoga means ‘union’ or ‘to yoke’ and offers us a philosophy for living, a state of mind and a discipline that allows us in this modern world to open up to that universal connection.

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The first written recordings of yoga philosophy came about some 2500 years ago from the renowned sage, Patanjali. These recordings known as The Yoga Sūtras, a collection of aphorisms, outline the eight limbs of yoga as a serious of ‘threads’ of wisdom, or ‘seed’ teachings offering potent tools and steps to living a meaningful and purposeful life.


The sage Patanjali outlined for us in these sutras the Eight Limbed Path (more on that to come), steps toward an enlightened blissful state that apply now as the yogis code for living and moving through the world with a higher awareness.


Though there is not necessarily one such text that the philosophy and practise of yoga is based on, the Yoga Sutras do provide the most succinct guide that we can look into, practise with and meditate on. We can use these threads to guide us through our steps into fulfilling our potential, landing on our most true path and discovering the most meaningful life we can live. The first sutra (above) can be with us in any given moment to bring us into the present moment.


As we land on our mats - yes of course, however more importantly in those moments of frustration in a queue, when we want to be present with our kids, friends or partner, when we need to apply our focus or make an important decision - we can remember that feeling from the mat of ‘now’. 


That in this moment, atha, my life has given me preparation and practice to allow me to be here now, present and awake.