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Around 100 to 200 years B.C., Patanjali compiled the Yoga Sutra, the first written description of the traditional yogic path. In this work, he outlines eight "limbs"; thus these teachings are often termed the "eight-limbed path" or "eight-fold path." In Sanskrit, this is translated as "Ashtanga" (sometimes spelled "Astanga"). The eight-limbed path forms the basis of Raja Yoga.

The eight limbs are:
1. Yama: Five vows of restraint, including Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truth), Asteya (avoidance of theft), Brachmacharya (continence), Aparigraha (avoidance of greed).
2. Niyama: Five disciplines, including Saucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerities), Svadhyaya (study) and Ishvarapranidhana (surrender to God).
3. Asanas (Postures)
4. Pranayama (Control of breathing and life-currents)
5. Pratyahara (Turning the attention within)
6. Dharana (Concentration)
7. Dhyana (Meditation)
8. Samadhi (Superconscious state or holy trance)

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Last update: Friday, October 19, 2007 2:07:59 PM EDT - edit