Patanjali – 8 Limbs via the Yoga Journal Conference

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At the Yoga Journal Conference, I attended The 8 Limbs of Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, as an all day intensive.  (This is a super late, post, but here it is never the less.)

It was a phenomenal session, put on by some of the worlds finest yoga instructors:

I really enjoyed the session because the early portion of the day did well to stimulate my mental body with the concepts that are communicated in the Yoga Sutras, while the later part of the day facilitate an actual experience on what the Sutras communicate. This was beneficial for me because I had already put some thoughts down regarding my previous thinking along the lines of the Yoga Sutras. Since the session several of my definitions have been updated based on the information that Gary bestowed upon the class.

Gary is a lineage holder of sorts, as in he received a transmission. I fully believe in and appreciate his lineage, (though I need to learn more about it,) for in the room with us was a presence that enhanced Gary’s aura. After class I chatted with him briefly and he stated that a Swami once told him what the presence, or energy was, but that he wouldn’t say. (perhaps someday I’ll gain insight into that energy.)

In follow up posts I am going to post some yoga definitions that were presented by Gary in this session, so stay tuned as they each present excellent perspective on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

8 Limbs: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali lecture notes

Gary lectured on the Yamas all the way through Pranayama. Then lead the class scientifically through a yoga set to demonstrate some of the concepts taught. I really connected with how Gary presented the yoga set, because he focused on the Science of Yoga. The set was specifically applied due to the 2 hours worth of lecture and a few other factors in order to take us through asana and pranayama.

Gary has a wealth of knowledge that he pulled from, including the root meaning of many sanskrit terms. He also noted that terms that make up Patanjali:

Pat- to fall

Anjali- to make an offering

It is said that Patanjali fell into the hands of those who were praying. He fell in the form of a Naga (Dragon) or Divine Being. He was a Naga Raja, the highest Serpent. It is said that the Lord sits comfortably on his belly while the weight of the world lies upon his head.

Enough with the legend, on with the notes. If these seem some what jumbled it is because we jumped around the topics some, with questions being asked and I am also going to be following up with a series of posts.

Through discourse Gary mentioned that there are more or less 3 types of Karma that a human has:

  1. Fixed Karma, that is karma that will not change
  2. Karma that is unlikely to change
  3. And Karma that can change

One concept through yoga is to work on the karma that can be changed. I suspect that via a concentrated effort one can also get into releasing the karma that is not likely to be changed. How does it go, God grant me the Wisdom to change the things I can influence positively, to leave alone the things I cannot and the ability to know the difference, or something like that. Karma

Gary noted that each chapter of the Sutras is written for a disciple @ differing levels of development. (The more I study the more I find that there are indeed many differing levels of development, and that in fact understanding ones place upon the path is of key importance for helping yourSelf and then the group(s) which you are a part of.)

Here I have noted the insights I gained from the session, but for a true experience you really should sign up for a course with these teachers!

This is a scientific approach to becoming more in tuned with your Spirit.

May your Spirits Awaken

Krishan

Yamas Definitions

1st Chakra- Root, 2nd Chakra- Creativity, 3rd Chakra- Power, 4th Chakra- Heart Center, 5th Chakra- Communication, 6th Chakra- Intuition, 7th Chakra- Divine, Raja Yoga, Science of Yoga, Yoga Glossary No Comments

The 5 Yamas are essentially restraints upon the Raja Yoga path.

I’ve been defining them here over the past several months, so I thought an overview post would be in order.  I shall also provide a little perspective on how the Yamas interact with our chakras, please note this perspective is generated by my intuition.  I welcome feedback.

Ahimsa- Non-violence.  I believe non violence works to properly balance our third chakra because we do not force power over another by practicing.  It also inhibits the creation of a certain type of karma that is typically viewed as negative karma.
Satya- speaking about what is true. My perspective is that this balances our 5th chakra, or communication center.  For when we speak about what is True, in the True sense of the matter, we are sending forth a powerful positive vibration.
Asteya- non stealing.  I believe this is another means of balancing our power centers.  Here we are only using the resources which are rightfully ours.  I suspect it is when the survival or 1st chakra is out of balance that the urge to steal comes to being.
Bramacharya- moving toward Brahma.  From a conservation of sexual energy perspective, I believe this balances the svadhisthana chakra.  From a moving towards God or Brahma perspective, I would say that the 7th or Divine Chakra is utilized.
Aparigraho- non grasping.  The center this focuses on is not obvious to me, I would say if one truly knows themselves they are centered in themselves, and perhaps this type of centering is the work of the heart chakra and perhaps ones mind stays within and does not attach itself to the external which would seem to be a function of the third eye.
These 5 together make up the Yamas.  The Yamas should be practiced as one of the steps of the 8 limbs of yoga.  We find within them very clean means to balance the chakras.
May the yamas server you well.

Is Yoga a Religion?

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We could also ask is Religion Yoga?

In my recent experience at the Yoga Journal Conference, I listened to an esteemed panel that pondered this very question, is yoga a religion.

Panel Participants:

The panel discussed many aspects of this many sided topic.

One approach is to look at the Root Meanings of the words:

Religion: defined by webster-

  • the service and worship of God or the supernatural, committment or devotion to religious faith or observance
  • a personal set or insitutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, faith or observance
  • scrupulous conformity
  • a cause, principle or system of beliefs held with ardor and faith

The Latin root is “religio” which means to link.

Yoga:defined by webster-

  • a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind and will in order that the self may realize its disctiction from them and attain liberation (I agree with this definition in part, and only from a certain point of view)
  • a system of exercizes for attaining bodily or mental control and well being

The sanskrit definition means yoking, or to join.

Hmm, so we have a root meaning of link and a root meaning of join. So if we take root meaning we can find the words synominous.

Now where the rubber meets the road with this question, in the panel discussion, is when a person attends a yoga class, purely for the purpose of well being. Is this person taking part of a religious activity???

I stated the following to the panel, then posed a question:

  • I’ve seen it best written that the one true religion is the worship of God’s spirit
  • Is yoga a worship of God’s spirit?

There response was that it depends upon the intention of the practice. Now for me personally, my yoga practice is a means to worship God’s spirit, and connect with my True Self, my Sat Nam, my Higher Self, on a daily basis. It is very much so a form or religious expression for myself.

This is my approach to this question, but I needed more input on this to form an opinion, so I chatted with a friend of mine. And the discussion took place along the following lines:

The reasons’ one turns to religion or yoga have to do with the benefits associated with each. The primary benefit of religion, is the concept of an after life eternal. Why do we attend church? So that we may live forever after we pass on from this life.

Now yoga on the other hand, has very much to do with the now, the Eternal present moment, for in that moment all past causes have been manifest and all future potentialities lie.

Perhaps we can view Religion, as being destination focused, and yoga as being path focused. Every religion has a very straight, and sometimes strict, line with destination in mind. Where Yoga has many branches, like a vine that weaves to and fro, they flow in and out of one another, they cross the straight line paths of traditional religions and they all end up back to Source.
One aspect of some religions which tends to frustrate me is the concept that if you pick the wrong path, then its pitch forks baby. This just simply does not make sense. If one believes in a Single God, then that God is inclusive by His very nature, for how can things exist within One which He does not believe in.

We find elements of Yoga across all religions. It’s almost as though yoga works to link the commonalities across those religions. And so we have joining (Yoga), linking (Religion) to Source. (In this context the Source is inclusive of afterlife.)

 

Is Yoga a Religion?

“It is and it is not. In religion you have to believe something and in yoga you have to experience what you want to believe” Yogi Bhajan.

I believe in the Spirit of God and I seek to experience that which I believe. How can one experience that which they believe, if the primary focus is afterlife?

It turns out that there are many right answers to this question, which is the one right answer. Just as their are many right paths/branches to religion/yoga, which are the right paths/branches.

And so if you ask me, is Yoga a Religion, I would say, Is Religion Yoga?

Dalai Lama, Madison WI Public Lecture

Raja Yoga 18 Comments Kundalini Yoga & Chakras Balancing

Compassion the Source of Happiness

Event type: Conference

Date: 2007-05-05

Rating: 4 out of 5

Magic,

Was the first feeling evoked by His Holinesses’ presence and the large audience gathered before him.

I was recently very fortunate to particpate in a public lecture here in Madison, WI given by the Dalai Lama. Overall it was a very good session, however, it was sometimes difficult to fully understand what the Dalai Lama was expressing in English, which made it rather mentally difficult to ponder the deeper meanings he conveyed.

Here are some notes I took during the discussion. I hope you may find them to be of value to you! When I read, The Art of Happiness, my outlook on life took a step up a notch.

- First and formost His Holiness is extremely humble, he has a very relaxed, peaceful demeaner about him.

- Compassion is the source of Happiness, and happiness is a basic human right. All of humanity deserves to be free from suffering.

- Human beings are unique to this planet due to our mental capacity, the concept of memory is interesting for a memory can serve as a source of happiness, or a source of pain

- Visualization (imagination) is a powerful human ability- (My perspective is that we shall se this more in more in the near future as our meditation processes evolve and become more main stream)

- His Holiness encourages humanity to take care of the Earth and respect nature, wahoo bring on the tree hugging ;-)

- A challenge is the concept that a one century old event can cause disturbances even now

- The more colorful a life is the better

- Love, compassion and patience should be cultivated (The Dalai Lama is truly amazing, where ever he goes he shares these with people)

- Our society has caused different types of friends, they are not all true friends, some are only friends of Power, or only friends of Money, if the Power or the money is to go away, then the friendship goes away. These are not true friends and in these relations the appropriate aspects are not cultivated.

- Fear is the underlying root of suffering, the underlying root of anger, when we get to the bottom of our emotions and uncover the fear we can reduce the fear, this increases confidence and increases the Will

- Compassion strenghtens the immune system (It is said that when we give a vacuum of sorts is created, and that by law the universe has not choice but to fill that vacuum with something, a strong immune system must come with the vacuum as well.)

- Emotions tend to interlink, so a memory or image of one thing can spark feelings of another (this would be true in fear and true in love)

- Besing consistent, weather enemy or friend, that’s true compassion (love your enemies)

- Mothers provide their babies milk, this is a most basic concept of compassion, this gift or relation between Mother and child, builds the childs capacity for compassion.

- His Holiness has a strong determination in the early morning to shape his mind for the rest of the day

- The Dalai Lama stated strongly that we are currently dealing with several man made problems and if Man made the problems, then we can unmake them- (strong applause from crowd)

- We must think of the human family and find solutions through peaceful means (strong applause)

- We must educate the younger generation, so that they can gracefully change the world when they are the leaders in a society that will be different than what it is today (this struck a cord with me, a while back one of my teachers said I could play a role with children, of course the word children can mean a lot of things when dealing with esoteric language, regardless I have an idea to help children, so thank you Mr. Dalai Lama for germinating the seed.)

Please note, none of these notes are exact, they are based on my interpretation, and understanding so I apologize if they are not spot on.

That’s it for my notes, there are some great words to live by in there and some concepts that bear reflection.

What’s your reaction to the event notes?

Tags:

Dalai Lama to visit Madison WI

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Dalia Lama Public Lecture

Begins: Fri, 04 May 2007 at 2:30 PM

Ends: Fri, 04 May 2007 at 5:00 PM

Entry fee: $21 – $23

Location:

601 West Dayton

Madison, WI 53715

USA

Link: Public Lecture Information on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Madison

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is coming to give a public lecture at the Kohl Center in Madison Wisconsin!

It’s actually a coincidence of sorts, the public lectur is actually right before the Lake Geneva Yoga Conference. I get to pack in a whole weekend of spiritual activity.

The people of Madison, and Wisconsin for that matter, are fortunate to live in a spiritual hub such as this.

Tickets are limited to 4 per person. I am not actually certain of the ending time of the lecture it more than likely depends on the material to be covered.

I highly recommend coming to the lecture. His wisdom is absolutely remarkable. One of my favoriate books, which is authored by him, The Art of Happiness, has great life insights.

I am very pleased to have already purchased tickets, I will be attending with two close friends of mine, one is my future bride the other an old friend.

Buddhism deals well with the concept of non-attachment, and as such this is classified into the Raja Yoga and science of yoga sections of this website. Non-attachment is of key importance for Yoga.

I’ll be sure to update this site with some good tid bits from the lecture.

Sat Nam

PS: I studied the Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle way in college, thanks John Dunn, it was a facinating study that helped support my spiritual journey.

Tags: Dalia Lama, Madison WI, Buddhism

Yoga Conference in Lake Geneva WI!

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There is a great Yoga Conference coming to Lake Geneva Wisconsin sponsored by the Yoga Journal.  I am extremely excited to attend as this will be my first conference.

I’ll be attending one full day plus an all day intensive, (the conference is a little expensive if you ask me.)

I am super excited because I get to take more yoga classes with Gurumukh.  The first class that I experience from her truly inspired me to deepen my study.

She will be guiding Sadhana practices, and I’ll be in attendance for at least one of those.  I am also signed up for two of her classes on Saturday.

The all day intensive is a class I am super stoked for.  It’s on the 8 Limbs of Yoga.  I hope to make use of the experience to deepen my current work on the 8 Limbs of Yoga, and add perspective on how one may follow the limbs.  I’ll work to add this knowledge to my future teachings on the subject.

This line of work falls into the study of Raja Yoga.

What good is knowledge if one cannot share with others.

Anyway, if you are going to the Yoga Conference I’ll see ya there!

Sat Nam

Krishan Singh

Madison, Wisconsin a Yoga Haven

Raja Yoga, Science of Yoga 2 Comments

I’m pleased to relay that the Yoga Journal, has recently proclaimed Madison, WI to be a Yoga Haven.

They reported on several yoga centers:

  • Main Street Yoga
  • Mound Street Yoga Center
  • Perfect Knot Yoga and Massage
  • Well Within

The list is similar to the list I put together on Yoga in Madison, WI.  I had not heard of Well Within before, so thanks for that one!  And I had spaced out on Main Street Yoga, so I’ve added them both to my list.

They missed Lisa’s Yoga Room and her schedule.

The University of Wisconsin also regularly offers Mini Courses on Yoga.

I suspect that yogins are drawn to Madison, WI because of the great energy that this city has.  The vibrant student life, beautiful lakes, wonderful green spaces and rather libral views found in Madison make it very conducive to Yogic living.  Throw in some organic farming and environmental consciousness and you have one thriving place, heck there is even a local publication dedicated to sustainable living.

Now if we take a step up from this view, we would consider that this is simply an outward manifestation of the energetic system that surrounds this part of the Earth.  We are in the “Heartland” and in the future I hope to dig up information about how the magnetic field in this part of the country helps to faciliate this energy.

This field nurtures a more inclusive perspective on things, which will be very helpful as we transition into the Age of Aquarius.  (Watch the space of religion from now till 2012, we’ll see some interesting things indeed.)

Education is a cornerstone to the culture here in Madison.  In time yogic and esoteric education provided in Madison WI will help to pull some of the brightest, and lightest, people to this area for learning and holistic living.

I’m happy to be fortunate to have been born and raised in Madison.  In return I’ll see what I can do to help with the Raising of Consciousness from Madison.

May your Spirits Awaken!

H~

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras- The 8 Limbs of Yoga

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The Yoga Sutra’s of Patanjali represent an excellent analysis on how one may obtain Union with the Divine. Patanjali sets forth the foundation upon which true Raja Yoga may be practiced. The steps, or 8 means of Yoga truly illustrate how one may achieve their goal. (I always have a challenge with the concept of acheiving a goal in Yoga, for one must practice detatchment and not be motivated by the fruits of their labor.)

In order to further my personal, and soul understanding of the Yoga Sutras I read:

The Light of the Soul

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by Alice Bailey.

I found this text established proper foundation, and provided sound understandings of the Yoga Sutras. I supplemented this analysis with a perspective from:

The Tree of Yoga

by B.K.S Iyengar

For those of you with strong mental attributes, I would suggest the light of the soul. For those who would like a very simple practical approach to the Yoga Sutras, I would suggest The Tree of Yoga. For those who enjoy multiple perspectives I recommend both.

In this article I’ll provide an overview on the limbs of Yoga as well as the subjects presented by both authors, then add a little perspective of my own and from outside sources. I’ll be adding a little Christ Love and Buddha Wisdom as well.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras- The Steps to Union

By following the 8 means of Yoga one is able to achieve Samadhi, or Union. Patanjali presents them to us in a somewhat linear fashion, however, as with many Spiritual journeys one may find that within one step lies the secrets of achieving the others.

The 8 Limbs of Yoga

  1. Yamas – Commandments
  2. Nijama – Rules
  3. Asana – posture or pose
  4. Pranayama – Life Force Energy Control
  5. Pratyahara – Abstration
  6. Dharana – Attention
  7. Dhyana – Meditation
  8. Samadhi – Union

(6 out of 8 from memory with a few mis-spellings the first time, not bad, but always opportunity to learn, which is why we write things)

The 8 Steps to Union Overview

(Overview taken from The Light of the Soul, noted above)

Yamas – Commandments

  1. Harmlessness
  2. Truth to all beings
  3. Abstention from theft
  4. Abstention from incontinence
  5. Abstention from avarice

Nijamas- Rules

  1. Internal and external purification
  2. Contentment
  3. Fiery Aspiration
  4. Spiritual reading (good on ya for visiting)
  5. Devotion to Ishvara

(The Ten Commandments)

The Yamas and the Nijamas are curiously related to the Ten Commandments. The masses of humanity may thank the Christ and Moses for education upon these first two steps of Yoga. The following was noted from The Holy Bible, Exodus 20, King James Version.

  1. I am the Lord thy God (Devotion to Ishvara)
  2. Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Devotion to Ishvara)
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (Devotion to Ishvara, possibly Truth to all beings, when we consider a broader perspective of the Word)
  4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy (Spiritual Reading, Fiery Aspiration)
  5. Honour thy father and they mother (If we take a Macro perspective of the Father and the Mother, we see devotion to Ishvara)
  6. Thou shall not kill (Harmlessness)
  7. Thou shall not commite adultery (Abstention from incontinence)
  8. Thou shall not steal (Abstention from theft)
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbour (Harmlessness, Truth to all beings)
  10. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house (Abstention from avarice, Contentment)

No keepin up with the Jones’ ;-)

Might i suggest that following these 10 commandments supports internal and external purification. These commandments, or rules provide a foundation in life upon which deeper understandings, and proximity to the Divine may be achieved.
(The Four Noble Truths)

It is interesting to bring a Buddhist perspective into our discussion as well. Lord Buddha, gave humanity The Four Noble Truths:

  1. Suffering exists
  2. The cause of suffering is desire
  3. By ceasing desire we cease suffering
  4. The Noble 8 Foldpath is the way

I propose that when the Commandments, or Rules above are followed it builds a foundation of decreased suffering.

I’ve seen it written that we are due for the revealing of a 5th truth in the relatively near future. That should prove exciting indeed.

Asana- posture, or pose this provides the traditional Western perspective on what Yoga is all about. Hatha Yoga in particular is very popular in the West and well noted from the various Asanas which make up the practice. This step or means of achieving yoga supports purification of the system, and works to integrate the Mind, Body, Spirit interchange.

I’ve seen it written that Hatha Yoga was provided to humans during the Lemurian days. I’ve seen that Laya Yoga was provided during the Atlantean era. (Based on my readings on the Laya Yoga of old, it seems most similar to Kundalini Yoga) And that the Yoga that must not lead the way for human consciousness development is Raja Yoga.

Weather or not these sayings are true, do not matter. What matters most is that each is a part of another, and that with proper understanding of the whole, within each one may find the whole. That is to say, that within One, one may find the Whole.

Prior to reading the book listed above by Mr. Iyengar, I must admit I was not aware of the wholeness to be achieved through masterful implementation of Asana alone. Perfected Asana can encompass the means of Yoga to follow and thus work towards the goal of Union.

In my practice I’ve found that Kundalini Yoga provides an approach that integrates these steps of Yoga nicely. Thus both practices can be made into the Kingly Science of the Soul that is Raja Yoga.

Right Asana is key to this approach.


Pranayama- Life Force Energy Control (typically breath control) prana is life force energy, and yama is conrol, thus life force energy control. This is a broader subject than the typical representation of breath control. However, for the purpose of practice to a certain point of development, the focus is on breath control. So using the breath to guide the mind, the body and the soul through the asana. Pranayama is the name given to the practices in which one retains inhalation and or exhalation of the breath. It is also the name for specific types of breat, such as the Breath of Fire, in Kundalini.

I came to Kundalini first in this life time. I really appreciated its benefits and its use of pranayama is profound. Therefore, I believe the Kundalini Yoga system to support this means, or limb of Yoga most appropriately. That being said, its also written that only after mastery of asana should retention of the breath be practiced.

For this limb of Yoga I feel that ones soul will guide them to the expression of Yoga that best fits them. Should you be looking to enhance your pranayama practice, I suggest integrating Kundalini Yoga into your practice.

But what about the other forms of life force energy control. I suspect those should be left for between a Master and a student. It is enough to know that pranayama has additional means and practice.

Pratyahara- Abstraction in studying the text this term took some time for me to understand, now my understanding is better than where it started, but could probably use some strengthening. Abstraction is the withdrawl of the senses. This process reduces the minds tendancy to continually be grasping at thought forms.
My perspective is that the point of abstraction lies within the head of the yogin. That this point within the head is developed between the triangular interplay between the 6th chakra, the crown chakra and the center at the rear of the head. My current thinking is that the point of abstraction is closely related to the “Cave” a concept presented by William Meader in Shine Forth.

This is a Universal into an Individual process. Many of the previous steps focus on the individual preparation./p>

The Kundalini Yoga defitnition of Pratyahara, as noted in Guidelines for Sadhana (Daily Practice) Published by the Kundalini Research Institute, is, “…In this method you inject the universal mind into the individual mind by a concentration process.

This would naturally lead us to the next limb or step.

Dharana – Concentration once the withdrawl of the senese is achieved concentration must be nurtured.

“Concentration is the fixing of the chitta (mind stuff) upon a particular object “

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Light of the Soul.

I interpret this to mean that as it is fixated no additional thought forms are given attention, just the thought form of the particular object.
Patanjali provides many examples of things that can be a “particular object” such as the 1st chakra, or elephant.

Though not noted in the Yoga Sutras, I suspect a particular object could be a specific Asana. And that one pointed concentration on an Asana, can support this step to Union.

Dhyana – Meditation this is the process of prolonged concentration. To achieve concentration is realatively a straight forward task, to prolong that concentration, well that is True meditation.

One finds that the balance of what most call meditation is truly just abstration, mixed in with a few moments of concentration from time to time. Consistent, concentration, which is not easy, now that’s solid meditation. This leads to “…the restraining of the mind from its thought form making tendancies…”

That one always trips me up, the restraining of the mind from thought form making tendancies, so here I am using the mind to create thought forms in order to gain understanding of this information. And that very system which I am trying to understand tells me to restrain the thought forms. Not an easy task.

Again I would propose that through concentrated meditation one may take an Asana as the seed of an object.

Concentrated meditation, without a particular object “seedless” well that’s Samadhi.

Samadhi- Union Contemplation is another word for Samadhi. Samadhi is the typical word used to describe a Yogin who has achieved their goal of Union. I would propose that there are various levels of Union and that for the vast majority, Union, in this case relates to the personality ego in relation to the Soul. The Union between Soul and pure Spirit is achievable, as humanity has witnessed in the Christ, but not common at this stage of evolution.
Patanjali provided this frame work thousands of years ago and its applications are as relevant as ever. Given the shifts in consciousness available to humanity at this time, these steps will become more and more important for the soul education and nurturing we all require as humans.>

In reviewing this article, I found that the Ten Commandments and the Yoga Sutras would benefit from a comparrison to another path, that of the Middle Way.

(Noble 8 Fold Path)

We find many similarities between the Yoga Sutras and the Noble 8 Fold Path as set down from the Buddha, source. I’ve added some initial thinking based on the Limbs of Yoga.
Wisdom

     

  1. Right view (Abstraction)
  2. Right intention (Contentment, Fiery Aspiration)

Ethical Conduct

     

  1. Right speech (Truth)
  2. Right action (Asanas, Harmlessness)
  3. Right livelihood (Yamas and Nijamas, Pranayama from the perspective of life force energy control)

Mental Discipline (or Samadhi)

     

  1. Right effort (Fiery Aspiration, spiritual reading, Devotion to Ishvara)
  2. Right mindfulness (Abstraction, Concentration, Meditation)
  3. Right concentration (Concentration)

It’s very interesting that there is a strong Buddhist and Christian intermingling amongst the 8 Steps to Yoga. It’s almost like these teachings were put in place in order to reinforce specific aspects of the path to Union. ;-)

I hope you’ve found this information to be valuable. It has certainly helped me to group key concepts on this journey. Please add to the comments, and further this work!
I’ll leave you with this inspirational quote taken from The Master Yogi-

“Take my yoke upon you,… for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”