The practice of yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between body, mind and spirit. Its objective is to assist the practitioner in using the breath and body to foster an awareness of ourselves as individualized beings intimately connected to the unified whole of creation. In short it is about making balance and creating equanimity so as to live in peace, good health and harmony with the greater whole.
The core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for yoga practice. These eight steps are known today as Raja Yoga (Royal Yoga).
- Yama : Universal morality (Ahimsa – Compassion for all living things, Satya – Commitment to Truthfulness, Asteya – Non-stealing, Brahmacharya – Sense control and Aparigraha – Neutralizing the desire to acquire and hoard wealth)
- Niyama : Personal observances (Sauca – Purity, Santosa – Contentment, Tapas – Disciplined use of our energy, Svadhyaya – Self study and Isvarapranidhana – Celebration of the Spiritual)
- Asanas : Body postures
- Pranayama : Breathing exercises, and control of prana
- Pratyahara : Control of the senses
- Dharana : Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
- Dhyana : Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
- Samadhi : Union with the Divine