Raja Yoga/Patanjali’s Yoga as the royal yogic path to union. It was codified around 200 BC by Patanjali, one of the greatest yogis of ancient India.
Raja Yoga is the art of self-discipline. It is a practical aid to spiritual life. It is a way of being united with the Supreme Spirit through an intense and consistent practice of meditation.
Astangayoga (The eight limbs of Yoga) is part of Raja Yoga/Patanjali’s Yoga, it is explained in the second chapter called ‘Sadhana Pada’. This eight-fold path leads to meditation. They are:
1. Yama (Five vows or principles which helps to control the mind): (1) Ahimsa (Non-violence), (2) Satya (Truthfulness), (3) Asteya (Non-stealing), (4) Brahmacharya (Continence), (5) Aparigraha (Detachment).
2. Niyama (five social, moral and religious observances): (1) Sauca (Purity), (2) Santosa (Contentment), (3) Tapas (Austerity), (4) Svadhyaya (Self Study), (5) Isvarapranidhana (Self-surrender).
3. Asana (meditative posture)
4. Pranayama (dimension of vital energy; systematic control over the breath)
5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses form its sense objects)
6. Dharana (Concentration)
7. Dhyana (Meditation)
8. Samadhi (Ecstasy – oneness with the object of concentration/peak point of meditation)
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