Yamas - The Don'ts. The five moral principles or abstinences:
nonviolence-ahimsa, truthfulness-satya, nonstealing-asteya, control
of sexual energy-brahmacharya, and nonpossessivenss-Aparigraha.
Niyamas - The Do's. The five inner disciplines or observances:
purity-saucha, contentment-santosha, self-discipline-tapas, study of
the sacred texts-svadhyaya, living with the awareness of the Divine-ishvara-pranidhana.
Asana - Postures. Physical movements that are purifying
the body and improving one's posture. The practice of asanas prepares
the body for sitting in meditation and allows the free flow of energy.
Pranayama - Control of the breath and the flow of energy
in the body, which in turn brings balance to both the body and the mind.
Pratyahara - Drawing the senses within, letting go of
external distractions and stimuli.
Dharana - Total concentration on a chosen point of
focus: an object, sound, symbol, concept, movement or a task.
Dhyana - Meditation, an experience of inner peace and
Samadhi - Super-conscious experience, self-realization,
the merging of the self with the universal consciousness. In such a
state, all organs in the body suspend their activities: the heart stops
beating and the breathing ceases.
These eight branches support each other. Asana practice
must be established for proper practice of pranayama and it is a key
to the development of the yamas and niyamas (the ten commandments).
Once these four externally oriented limbs are firmly rooted, the last
four internally oriented limbs will spontaneously evolve over time.
The 4 paths to yoga (Yoga Margas) according to man’s
The path of love and devotion especially in a
spiritual connection. A heart centered journey.
The path of knowledge, intellect and wisdom. The deep understanding
of the self through the study of ancient and modern wisdoms.
The path of selfless action and service without seeking reward. The
journey of the active person.
Raja Yoga (Royal or complete)
The path of the spiritual person. Raja Yoga is also called Asthanga
Yoga as first described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras.
The 7 steps of Hatha Yoga: