The 8 limbs of Yoga: Philosophy for Beginners

Ashtanga – The eight limbed path

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras state that to live a meaningful and purposeful life, one should follow ‘Ashtanga’. Ashta translates to eight and Anga translates to limbs in Sanskrit, so the word Ashtanga means the eight limbed path.

There are eight limbs to Ashtanga Philosophy, which focus on self-control, self-discipline and moral and ethical codes we should live by as Yogis.

They give advice on staying healthy, cleanliness of self and environment, meditation and physical asana practice.

The 8 limbs of Yoga: What are they?

  • Yamas – the five ethical and moral codes Yogi’s live by. Ahimsa – Non violence, Asteya – Non stealing, Aparigraha – Non greed, Satya – Truthfulness and Bramacharya – being good with ones energy.
  • Niyamas – Five self disciplines. Saucha – cleanliness, Santosha – Contentment, Tapas – Austerities and heat, Isvara pranidhana – surrenderin.g to a higher power, Svadhyaya – Study of the self and Yogic Scripts.
  • Asana – The physical postural practice of yoga. The most common perception of Yoga, where we focus on the physical and mental well-being.
  • PranayamaGentle breathwork and breathing exercises, designed to help pranic energy (life force energy) flow and nourish the body, as well as helping to calm and still the mind.
  • Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses through meditation practice.
  • Dharana – One point focus, removing all other distractions, focusing on inner awareness.
  • Dhyana – Contemplation and meditation. Quieting the mind, unbroken flow of meditative state for long periods of time.
  • Samadhi – Union with the divine and self, deep sense of peace and stillness.

Beginners Philosophy, where is best to start?

It’s best to start with the physical asana side of practice and focus on bringing the Yama’s into your practice. There are many Yama’s we can incorporate into our lives both on and off the mat.

Often, Yoga is practiced for fitness reasons and the essence of the practice is lost. Incorporating the eight limbed path on and off the mat helps us to benefit from the philosophical and meditative sides to the practice.

A good place to start with asana practice is learning Surya Namaskar – The Sun Salutations. They help us learn proper breathing techniques within the practice. It also helps us build strength and flexibility, as well as teaching the foundations of building a lasting practice.

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For example, incorporating the Yamas – Ahimsa and Satya into practice.

Ahimsa – No harm in thought and action.

Ahimsa - the yogi dictionary

Ahimsa translates into Non-harm/Non-violence in Sanskrit. We can start to incorporate this into our practice both on and off the mat.
It becomes obvious to not harm in action, but how often do we do this in thought? Especially to ourselves? are we kind to ourselves on the mat? Do we practice with ease, or do we force ourselves?
could we modify our diet to practice Ahimsa? Perhaps, leaning to more vegetarian or plant based diets. Could we look after ourselves, or others, mentally and physically more?

All of these pointers will help us practice Ahimsa both on and off the mat.

Satya – Being Truthful

satya - being truthful

– What is Satya? –

Satya translates to truth in English.

When practicing Satya – Our thoughts and actions should be true, whilst not causing harm and being positive. How truthful are we daily? How many white lies do we tell? To ourselves, to others?
See an article I wrote on the subject of Satya here.

To Summarize…

We can all benefit from learning and practicing the eight-limbed path along side the more physical asana practice.

Do you incorporate philosophy and meditation into your practice? I’d love to hear from you! Comment or like below.

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners

Students often ask for meditations to practice at home, so I thought I would make some articles about starting to incorporate a practice into daily life. Also, including a meditation to practice independently from the comfort of home.

There are many benefits of guided meditations, such as:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Internalizing thoughts and emotions
  • Decluttering the mind of thoughts
  • Increasing mental wellbeing
  • Lowering blood pressure

    Just to name a few!

However it is important as we progress in practice to start learning meditation independently.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com



Mindfulness Meditation is a way of training the mind. It is a practice that teaches the mind to:

  • Let go of negativity
  • Slow down racing thoughts
  • Calm the mind
  • Invoke rest and relaxation within the body
  • Promote healing, both mentally and physically
mindfulness meditation
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How does Mindfulness relate to Yoga?

Yoga Chitta Vrtti Nirodha – Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind

Patanjali – Yoga Sutras, Sutra 1.2.

As this sutra states, Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations the mind. Learning to still the mind is the primary aim of yoga. Everything else is just a wonderful side effect of practicing this Sutra.

Mindfulness Meditation – both on and off the mat


Meditation and mindfulness, both on and on the mat play a vital role in attaining a still mind. It must be practiced daily and be at the forefront of our practice. If we just practice asana, without this element, we lose the essence of what Yoga truly is.

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It is really important to marry both movement and postural (asana practice) with meditation techniques, to have a whole, well rounded practice.

A Mindful Meditation to practice at home

This simple meditation can be practiced anywhere, for as long as you wish.

Part one – gentle breathwork

Inhale from the base of the spine to the throat, slowing the breath to an extended count of four.
Pause, retain the breath for a count of four.
Exhale from the throat to the base of the spine for a count of four.
Pause, retain the breath for a count of four.
Repeat as many times as you wish.

Remember, you can return to a normal breath then practice again if you wish. This is your practice and your time.

Part two – Mindfulness Meditation

Become aware of the breath – what happens to the belly, chest and ribcage as we inhale? What happens as we exhale?
Feel the sensations associated with air entering and exiting the body.
Pay attention to the rise and fall of the belly.
Bring a focus to each breath.

After a while, return to a normal breath.
Just be still. Listen.
Become aware and listen to sounds around you, without putting to much emphasis on them.
If thoughts come, don’t put too much emphasis on them, just return to the awareness of the breath then let the breath return to normal.

Stay in the practice for at least 10 minutes.

Yoga classes in Middlesbrough, Guisborough and Stockton

Aimee teaches an array of classes in Nunthorpe, Marton, Norton and Guisborough, and across Teesside. Mindfulness is always incorporated into classes.

Tuesdays in Norton / Stockton

Yoga & Meditation – 7:00-8:30pm Ragworth Community Centre, St Johns Way, Stockton-On-Tees TS19 0FB .

£6.50 for a drop in or a block of 4 lessons for £20 (£5.00 per class) .

Fridays in Nunthorpe / Middlesbrough

Yoga & Meditation -9:30- 11:00am St Mary’s Church Hall, Morton Carr Lane, Nunthorpe.

£6.00 for a drop in or a block of 4 lessons for £20 (£5.00 per class) 

Email amala.teesside@gmail.com or contact us for information & bookings.

Do you use mindfulness meditations in your practice? Is it something you wish to incorporate? I would love to hear from you!
Warm regards, Aimee

About The author:

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

To find out more, visit www.amalateesside.com

Satya – Being Truthful (Yoga Philosophy)

AMALAwellness – Yoga in Teesside

Yoga Spotlight – Satya (Truthfulness)

Today we bring a spotlight to Satya and how it can affect our practice. Both on and off the mat.

– What is Satya? –

Satya is a Sanskrit word, translating to truth or essence in English. It is the second Yama which comes from the Eight Limbs of Yoga.

Sanskrit for Satya - Truthfulness, Sanskrit definition.
AMALAwellness - Teesside , Middlesbrough , Stockton

We should be truthful in thought, action and in speech. Our expressions and actions should be true, whilst causing the least harm and influencing positivity. What we say, both internally and externally has an effect on our mind and consciousness.


Truth -Satya. Yoga in Middlesbrough and Stockton - AMALAwellness - Teesside

– How often are we truthful in daily life? –

This is a really difficult thing to practice, if we pause and reflect most would be surprised how often we revert to telling white lies, or falsehoods. Whether it is in our mind internally or externally speaking to others. Exaggerating a situation, belittling ourselves, telling stories, etc. I am sure we can all think of an example when this has occurred in daily life.

Small, white lies can also have just as much effect as big lies too. Or avoidance of speaking the truth. Sometimes, its better to be honest and word things in a way to avoid causing pain if possible. Sometimes, its just better to stay quiet also, rather than cause hurt. However, this is all a fine balancing act, which is why practicing Satya is very challenging.

Truth -Satya. Yoga in Middlesbrough and Stockton - AMALAwellness - Teesside

On the mat, off the mat and Ahimsa…


We practice Satya on the mat, being truthful with our abilities in Asana. Realising our limitations and not pushing too hard, or not beating ourselves up about progress (practicing Ahimsa).
When we start to open up and progress, we realize a lot about ourselves and our behaviours on the mat. Rushing through certain postures, avoiding things that may be challenging.

It starts to transfer to off the mat too and when we pause an reflect we notice truths we maybe avoid, maybe we should speak up about, or we are aware of and should not speak up due to the pain it may cause. It’s like balancing Satya with Ahimsa (non-violence in thoughts, actions and speech).

Buddha Quote - Truth -Satya. Yoga in Middlesbrough and Stockton - AMALAwellness - Teesside


Do you resonate with this post? Do you incorporate Satya in your life?
I’d Love to hear from you!

Aimee is a Yoga, Meditation and Move It or Lose It! teacher in located in Middlesbrough, England, UK.

Find AMALAwellness yoga and meditation classes in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Teesside and online.