Raja yoga is a form of yoga that makes an individual fearless, independent, and autonomous. This form is the path of practice and self-discipline. The Raja Yoga is alternatively known as Ashtanga Yoga, or eight steps of yoga, as it is organized in eight core parts. These are:
- Yama (Self-Control)
This part consists of five core principles that are Ahimsa (Non-violence), Satya (Truthfulness), Asteya (Non-stealing), Bhrahmacharya (Leading a pure way of life), and Aparigraha (Non- accumulation of possessions).
- Niyama (Discipline)
Niyama means discipline and comprises five principles that are Shauca, which means purity; Santosh, which means contentment; Tapa, which means self-control, Svadhyaya, which refers to studying the holy scriptures; and finally Ishvara Pranidhana, meaning devotion to God.
In order to achieve control of the body, a Raja Yogi practices a few asanas, which help awaken the inner powers that guide the path to achieving self-realization.
Just like asanas control the physical body, Pranayama is a set of breathing exercises that a Raja Yogi performs to gain control over the mind.
- Pratyahara (Withdrawal of the senses)
Pratyahara is a practice that helps a yogi attain independence from external factors. These factors could be external sounds or objects. It requires keeping the body motionless, closing the eyes, and directing the attention inward.
- Dharana (Concentration)
Only after mastering Pratyahara a Raja Yogi can proceed towards Draharana, or concentration. It means focusing one’s thoughts and mind-set on one single object. Focusing on that object for a long period of time is what helps a yogi master the art of Dharana.
- Dhyana (Meditation)
Meditation is something that cannot be learned. It is similar to sleep. We sleep when our body is relaxed. Likewise, meditation is done when the mind is relaxed. This form helps a yogi experience pure being.
- Samadhi (Complete realization)
Samadhi is the unison of knowledge, knower, and the object of knowledge. The knower is the person who practices Raja Yoga, the knowledge is finding ‘what is God’, and God is the object of knowledge. It is believed that those who experience Samadhi witness a heavenly, radiant light and feel that they are in an infinite expanse. It is what unites the yogi with divine consciousness.
Last updated on June 4th, 2021 at 10:39 pm