Raja Yoga

The word „raja“ means king and „raja yoga“ can be translated as royal path. The Yoga Sutras of Rishi Patanajali is the most important raja yoga scripture. He extracted in his work the essence of many complex yoga teachings and compiled them to a system that today is known as Patanjali’s asthanga yoga, the eightfold path.

The system allows the practitioner to become aware of all the aspects of his own inner nature and enables him to control them. During the first few steps an external and internal atmosphere of peace and purity is established as a basis for meditation. After this, the practitioner is guided from simple physical awareness to the highest spiritual perfection through the path of meditation.

Patanjali’s eightfold path consists of:

  • Yamas: positive resolutions to maintain the quality of our relationships.
  • Niyamas: disciplines to harmonize inner experiences.
  • Asanas: postures to strengthen health.
  • Pranayamas: breathing techniques to raise vitality.
  • Pratyahara: directing the awareness from the external to the inner world.
  • Dharana: concentration, focusses mental power to one point or object.
  • Dhyana: meditation, the meditator merges with the object of meditation.
  • Samadhi: self-realization, the individual consciousness merges with the divine.

Literature: Yoga Darshan, Four Chapters on Freedom