The name of the second book means ‘On Practice’ and these sutras outline two different systems of yogic practice – Kriyā Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga. Here, the term kriyā yoga refers to practices of self-discipline and devotion to self-learning. It is through these practices that we can attain a neutral yogic state.
This is also the book that defines Ashtanga as the eight limbs of yoga. These are
- Yamas (ethical standards)
- Niyamas (self-disciplines)
- Asana (poses)
- Pranayama (breathing techniques)
- Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses)
- Dharana (concentration)
- Dhyana (meditation)
- Samadhi (absorption into the object of focus)
The eight limbs are meant to form a sequence that moves from our exterior, starting with our actions and ethics to the interior with our meditation and focus. Each of these eight limbs can be further explored in depth.