This week in class we were discussing the 8 limbs of yoga, as laid out by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. The 8 limbs are steps to help guide the yoga practitioner (sadhaka) in their Sadhana (practice). They are in a progressive order for learning but are all interrelated. They are:
Yama: moral injunctions
Niyama: fix observances
Pranayama: regulation of breath
Pratyahara: internalization of the senses
Although asana is not the first step out of the 8, it can be a place to start because the physical body grabs our attention. Once the body has brought you to attention the other limbs are introduced and learned.