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8 Steps of Hatha and Raja Yoga

This path of Yoga was organized by Patanjali, an ancient Indian sage, in his Yoga Sutras as an eight-step training system for body and mind. This was also called Ashtanga Yoga (in Sanskrit, ashta is “eight” and anga is “division” or “limb”). These eight steps include purification of body and mind until enlightenment.

8 steps of hatha and Raja Yoga

1. Yama

Yama actually means "bridle" or "rein" that sets out the actions from that yogis ought to refrain. It advocates living a lifetime of non-violence and honesty, channeling sexual energy, not stealing or receiving gifts or bribes.

2. Niyama

Niyama is a Sanskrit term for positive duties or observances. It puts down the actions a yogi ought to do. It advocates external and internal purity, happiness, satisfaction, self-discipline, and devotion to God. Together, the yama and niyama type an extremely ethical code of moral conduct. Following them makes the mind a lot more positive and purifies it from within.

3. Asana

The third step is the most popular step which relates to posture. Asana in Sanskrit means “seat”. It is defined as the seated posture that is used for meditation. There are twelve basic asanas and their different variations that build up your body and prepare it for meditative poses in the next stages.

4. Pranayama

Pranayama is the fourth step that revolves around awareness of breath i.e the management of prana or life energy. Pranayama can be achieved by doing deep-breathing exercises, that embrace active breath retention.

5. Pratyahara

Asana and Pranayama project the yogi into a world of intense inner perception and self-introspection. Pratyahara teaches the way to stabilize the withdrawal of the senses. This also acts as preparation for concentration.

6. Dharana

Dharana refers to the concentration of the mind. The mind is focussed on an imagined or real object to the exclusion of external thoughts. Dharana is also considered as a major practice in all yoga meditation techniques.

7. Dhyana

Dharana leads to Dhyana which is a Sanskrit term for meditation. This uninterrupted flow of thought waves is also compared to laminar flow of oil from one container to another.

8. Samadhi

Samadhi is derived from Sanskrit, sam, meaning "together with,", a, meaning "near to" and dha, meaning "put" which implies a complete state of concentration. This ultimate step happens effortlessly as, throughout meditation, the mind is absorbed into Absolute Consciousness, on the far side all the standard states of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep.

Yoga is the ultimate control of your body and mind. Hatha and Raja Yoga is the largest and most important aspect of yoga. 

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