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Big question that one, and maybe the answer is different for different people, however, yoga can be seen as the science of the mind.

In the ancient texts of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, the goal of yoga is said to be "The restraint of the modifications of the mind" - or 

"Yogas città vrtti nirodhah".

The ability to control our mind by keeping it clear and free of distractions, ego and desires; those bits that often cloud our thoughts and sometimes lead us away from our original state. 


The physical practise of yoga which combines movement and awareness of breath, is a means by which we start to focus our attention and hopefully start to turn off our monkey-minds. Learning to be still and quiet within our own mind is the challenge of yoga and one that needs plenty of practise! 

THE 8 LIMBS OF YOGA - a brief insight

Yoga is so much more than the asana we practise in a class. It is fundamental to anyone interested in yoga to understand that yoga is actually a way of life; it is about living in peace, good health and harmony with the greater whole.

Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago and at first teachings were mostly in the form of meditation rather than a physical practise. The foundations of yoga philosophy were written down in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, approximately 200 AD. There describes an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for yoga practice. In brief the eight limbs, or steps to yoga, are as follows: 

Lotus in Bloom

8 Limbs of Yoga

1 : Yama :  Social disciplines

2 : Niyama :  Personal observances

3 : Asanas :  Body postures

4 : Pranayama :  Breathing exercises, and control of prana (energy)

5 : Pratyahara :  Withdrawal of the senses

6 : Dharana :  Concentration of the mind on the Self

7 : Dhyana : Concentration and energy on a sole object. 

8 : Samadhi : Superconscious state achieved via meditation. 

Yoga means 'to join' or 'to yoke', so remember that by bringing together some or all of the 8 limbs in your life, this will lead you in the right direction towards the ultimate goal of yoga - self-development and self-realization.

 - Yamas - 

Social ethics

AHIMSA - Have compassion for all living things. Do not harm, injure, be jealous or cruel by word or deed, to others and yourself.

ASTEYA - Non-stealing. Never take that which is not yours.

SATYA - Honest communication. Speak the truth but only if not harmful or hurtful to others. Better to say nothing than lie.

APARIGRAHA - Non-greed -  do not want what is not yours. Don’t be greedy.

BRAMACHARYA - Non-sensuality, self-restraint; do not be distracted or diverted by temptation. Control of your energy.


Niyamas - 

Personal observances

SAUCHA - Cleanliness and purity, both of the body but also the mind. Look after yourself.

SANTOSHA - Contentment. Be happy with what you have in life and do your best.

TAPAS - Discipline to use our energy. Keep fit and healthy, either via food, lifestyle, asana or pranayama. 

SVADHYAYA - Self study. Keep learning, go on courses, workshops, ready more. Learn about oneself and be centred through a daily meditation practise.

ISVARA PRANIDHANA - Recognition or devotion to a god/higher being. Or more simply commit to your yoga practise and embrace its benefits.

Buddha Statue

Inspiring books, words. views & listens


The Yama & Niyamas - Deborah Adele

Light on Yoga - BKS Iyengar

The Heart of Yoga - TKV Desikchar

How Yoga Works - Geshe Michael Roach (one of my favourites!)

Ashtanga Yoga - David Swenson

Move! The New Science of Body & Mind: Caroline Williams

Breath : The New Science of a Lost Art : James Nestor


The Swimmers, Netflix - Two Syrian sisters seek asylum as they follow their dream of competing in the Olympics.

Painkiller, Netflix - a shocking and eye-opening series documenting the opioid crisis in the US.

The Deepest Breath - Netflix - This is such a beautiful film based on a true story about free divers.



Happy Place - Fearne Cotton

Zoe, Science & Nutrition, Jonathan Wolf/Michael Mosley

Feel Better Live More, Dr Chatterjee

Ram Dass, Here & Now


- Namaste 

My soul honours your soul.

I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides.

I honour the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me.

In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.

- Lokah Samantha, Sukhino Bhavantu

May all beings be free and happy


"When the breath wanders or is irregular, the mind is also unsteady, but when the breath is still in the mind, the yogi lives long. So one should restrain the breath."

- Hatha Yoga Pradipika



Breathing in, I know i am breathing in.

Breathing out, I know as the in-breath grows deep, the out-breath grows slow.

Breathing in makes me calm. Breathing out make me ease.

With the in-breath, I smile. With the out-breath, I release.

Breathing in, there is only the present moment.

Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment.

- Thich Nhat Hanh



Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.

- Upanishads



May the sun bring you new energy by day.

May the moon softly restore you by night.

May the rain wash away your worries.

May the breeze blow new strength into your being.

May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.


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