Raja yoga is one of the classical forms of yoga that is primarily concerned with the mind and its control. It is also known as Ashtanga yoga, which means the “eight-limbed yoga.” The eight limbs are yama (moral codes), niyama (self-purification and study), asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (sense withdrawal), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (enlightenment).
The main objective of Raja yoga is to gain control over the mind and ultimately achieve a state of samadhi or spiritual absorption. The practice of Raja yoga involves various techniques such as meditation, pranayama, and concentration to quiet the mind, cultivate awareness, and develop the ability to concentrate deeply.
Raja yoga emphasizes the importance of moral and ethical values as a foundation for spiritual growth. It encourages practitioners to live a life of integrity, honesty, and kindness towards others. The practice of Raja yoga is not limited to any particular religion or belief system, but rather is open to anyone who is interested in developing their inner awareness and realizing their true potential.
Raja yoga, also known as the “royal path,” is one of the classical paths of yoga that aims to achieve a state of inner calmness and stillness of the mind. It was developed by the ancient sage Patanjali, who compiled the Yoga Sutras, a collection of 196 aphorisms that serve as a guide to the practice of Raja yoga.
The practice of Raja yoga involves eight limbs, known as Ashtanga yoga, that form a systematic and progressive approach to the attainment of self-realization. These eight limbs are:
1. Yama – the practice of ethical principles, such as non-violence, truthfulness, and non-stealing.
2. Niyama – the practice of personal observances, such as cleanliness, contentment, and self-discipline.
3. Asana – the practice of physical postures to develop strength, flexibility, and balance in the body.
4. Pranayama – the practice of breath control to regulate and expand the prana or life force energy.
5. Pratyahara – the practice of withdrawing the senses from external stimuli to turn the focus inward.
6. Dharana – the practice of concentration, focusing the mind on a single point or object.
7. Dhyana – the practice of meditation, achieving a state of inner stillness and peace.
8. Samadhi – the ultimate goal of Raja yoga, a state of transcendent consciousness, and union with the divine.
The practice of Raja yoga aims to quiet the mind and control the fluctuations of thought, leading to a state of inner peace and enlightenment. It is considered the highest and most complete form of yoga, as it integrates physical, mental, and spiritual practices to achieve a state of unity with the Self and the universe.