The eightfold path (ASHTANGA) of Patanjali’s yoga stresses observance of the “five yamas” or moral restraints: AHIMSA, avoiding causing pain or injury to any creature; satya, speaking the truth; asteya, not stealing; BRAHMACHARYA, sexual abstinence; and aparigraha, not being acquisitive. All of these restraints are developed to ever higher levels as YOGA progresses, so that “speaking the truth” becomes a struggle to avoid even the desire to lie.
   Though some say that these constrants are not part of yoga per se, in fact a focus on these con-straints is a common yogic practice. Furthermore, the other branches or elements of the eightfold path such as “concentration” (dharana) are seen as enhancing and perfecting the yamas.
   Further reading: Swami Hariharananda Aranya, Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983); M. N. Dvivedi, trans., The Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali: Sanskrit Text and English Translation Together, with an Introduction and an Appendix, and Notes on Each Sutra Based upon Several Authentic Commentar-ies (Delhi: Sri Satguru, 1980); Ganganatha Jha, trans., The Yoga-Darshana, Comprising the Sutras of Patan-jali—with the Bhasya of Vyasa (Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1934).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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