Patanjali identifies eight stages, or limbs, of yoga practice Yoga arm balances , the first seven of which are essential for the eighth. Contained in the first two Yoga arm balances stages or limbs are attitudes that will help even a beginning yoga student to gain maximum benefit. When practicing ahimsa, or nonviolence, the yoga student will take care not to overwork or strain when performing the poses, even through the medium of a book. Ahimsa applies to oneself and others equally.
Being clear about one’s condition and physical limitations, the practice of satya, or truth, forms the basis of an intelligent approach to yoga. On the other hand, one can be too cautious, and in that situation, more tapas, or effort, is called for. One should practice yoga without grasping for immediate results, aparigraha, developing a healthy patience in the process of learning. As awareness develops, one can more easily appreciate life, and one’s movement through it, with santosa, or contentment.