Yoga is a Hindu way of life leading to spiritual liberation. It is included among the six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy. As early as the 5th century A.D. Patanjali arranged in an orderly way its basic principles in his ‘Yogasutra’.
According to yoga,spiritual liberation occurs when the soul is freed from the bondage of matter.The yoga process includes eight stages :
The first two are ethical preparations :
1. They are ‘yama’ or abstinence from violence, stealing, falsehood, lust , and greed for riches; and
2. ‘niyama’ or observance of cleanliness,contentment,austerity and study.
The next two stages are physical preparations that include :
3. ‘asanas’, a series of exercises to enable the aspirant to hold one posture for an extended period without physical discomfort;
4. And ‘pranayama’, or breathing exercises to encourage complete respiratory relaxation.
5. The fifth stage, ‘pratyahara’, involves control of the senses.
These first five stages constitute the external aids to yoga. The remaining three stages are internal aids.
6. They are ‘dhaarana’, the ability to hold awareness of one object for a long period of time;
7. ‘Dhyana’ concentrated meditation.
8. And ‘samadhi’ – the final stage, in which the object of meditation and the meditator becomes one.
|1. YAMA||Abstinence from violence, stealing, falsehood, lust, and greed for riches.|
|2. NIYAMA||Observance of cleanliness, contentment, austerity, and study.|
|3. ASANAS||Series of exercises to enable the aspirant to hold one posture for an extended period without physical discomfort|
|4. PRANAYAMA||Breathing exercises to encourage complete respiratory relaxation.|
|5. PRATYAHARA||Involves control of the senses.|
|6. DHAARANA||The ability to hold awareness of one object for a long period of time.|
|7. DHYANA||Concentrated meditation.|
|8. SAMADHI||The final stage, in which the object of meditation and the meditator becomes one.|