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Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga – Quick Study Chart

in YD News, Yoga Origins

It’s Patanjali’s 8-limbed path in beautiful chartastic form! AKA our new wallpaper.

Pretty yoga history (ch)art brought to you by the same graphic goddess of ‘An overly brief and incomplete history of yoga’ Flowchart, Alison Hinks.

Click the image to enlarge or save the pdf.

More about Alison at her blog.



20 comments… add one
  • Ali


  • Love this! Awesome chart, totally simple yet thorough.

  • Thanks for the return to sanity!

    • Ali

      Wow, return to sanity. That means a lot to me <3 Thank you, Genevieve!

  • This is so simple and awesome!! 🙂

  • The linear nature of this chart is misleading; so too is the inclusion of yamas and niyamas under the heading “things you do.” Yamas and niyamas describe our relationship to ourselves and others but as Desikachar writes, “These all form a part of yoga, but they cannot be practiced. What we can practice are asanas and pranayama, which make us aware of where we are, where we stand and how we look at things.” [The Heart of Yoga, p. 97] Krishnamacharya, Desikachar’s father, defined sadhana/practice as “doing what can be done”. Just as we can’t meditate, we can’t will ourselves into better relationships. Kindness and compassion are the natural result of coming into intimacy with ourselves and others and an effective asana and pranayama practice brings us into this intimacy. Clarity about our way of being and moving in the world is a spontaneous gift of yoga.

  • Ron

    Love the definition of yamas as “restraints”. Something really fascinting happens if we define the niyamas as “actions”. Suddenly life becomes a series of yamas and niyamas that extend far beyond Patanjali’s ten commandments.

    I suspect that Patanjali would be shocked at the imagination of the artist who drew the asana picture, though. He seems to have thought that we were supposed to be sitting down, not bending around.

  • Ron


  • Very aesthetic but I’m not convinced that śivāsana is the practice of pratyahara. That would make sleep pratyahara, withdraw of the senses. And I don’t thing that’s what patanjail is getting at here.

    Pratyahara = ‘not to feed the senses’ (Paul Harvey) as oposed to with drawl of the senses. This fits in with the practice of Shanmukhi Mudra (closing of the ports), The complete Book Of Vinyasa Yoga, Srivatsa Ramaswami, Pg184.

  • Quick and easy to understand. I am a Yoga instructor, it will help a lot to make my pupils understand the 8 limbs of Yoga, as now I can place this chart so that they can easily grab its essence.

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