Sage Patanjali brought together all the diverse and complex yoga knowledge and methodically presented it in the form of compilation of 196 aphorisms called “The Yoga Sutras”. According to “The Yoga Sutras”, one has to practice the eight-fold path to reach the ultimate goal of yoga - “Kaivalya”.
Yama (Principles of Universal ethics):
- Ahimsa - Non-violence
- Satya - Truthfulness
- Asteya - Non stealing
- Brahmacharya – Celibacy or Sexual restraint
- Aparigah - Non-hoarding or Non possessiveness
Niyama (Principles of Personal disciplines)
- Shoucha - Purity
- Santosh - Contentment
- Tapa - Austerity
- Swadhyaya – Study of Self and scriptures
- EshwarPranidhan – Dedication
Asana (Postures): Physical postures are practiced to develop the discipline and to promote physical health. This is the limb which is most popular among the masses when we talk about Yoga.
Pranayama (Breath control) - "Prana" mean Breath or vital energy and "ayama" means control. Yoga establishes connection between the breath and the mind. In Pranayama, by controlling thebreath, one controls the mind.
Pratyahara (control of the senses) – In this stage, one withdraws attention away from the external world and directs it internally.
Dharana (concentration): After drawing attention internally, one concentrates on a single object which helps to reduce the thoughts.
Dhyana(meditation): With maturity of concentration, one reaches a stage of sustained concentration. At this stage, one does not get distracted by any means.
Samadhi: In this state of higher consciousness, one merges with the object of meditation and transcends the Self altogether. This is the stage of Super bliss.