1. YAMA: The moral commandments – the five restraints or the “don’ts”.
Ahimsa – non violence, Satya – speaking the truth, Asteya – non stealing, Brahmacharya – non-excess, restraint, self-control, religious studies, faith in God, and Aparigraha – non-possessiveness, unselfishness.
2. NIYAMA: The voluntary vows – the five observances or the “do’s”.
Saucha – living a life of cleanliness and purity, Santosha – contentment, Tapas – self-disipline/daily practice/great effort, Svadhyaya – willingness to learn and study – devotion to one’s self, and Ishvara Pranidhana – faith in God. The aim is to achieve ‘yoga’ or union, reference of and surrender to the Supreme Soul.
3. ASANA: Physical postures and exercise.
A scientific system of exercise and physical discipline that promotes physical and mental well-being.
4. PRANAYAMA: Breath control and manipulations of the prana (life force) flowing through the meridians/nadis.
Breathing practises that promote a balanced, less stressed frame of mind and healthy body.
5. PRATYAHARA: Detachment. Sense withdrawal from the external world into the interior self. The control of mental energy to preserve personal energy.
6. DHARANA: Development of the concentration. Concentration of mind on a particular point or object.
7. DHYANA: Meditation. An uninterrupted flow of concentration, thus correct concentration leads inevitably to meditation. One-pointed focusing of the mind upon the Transcendent.
8. SAMADHI: Self-realisation. Samadhi is the end result of dhyana; when the yogi becomes at one with the univer . Perfect union of the individual soul and the Supreme Soul is the goal of yoga – where in the yogi unites with God. Swami Sivananda: “The state of consciousness where Absoluteness is experienced attended with all-knowledge and joy; Oneness; here the mind becomes identified with the object of meditation; the meditator and the meditated, thinker and thought become one in perfect absorption of the mind.”
“Yoga is a sophisticated system that extents far beyond doing yoga postures; it is literally a way of living. Yoga is designed to bring more and more awareness of not only your body but also your thoughts.” – Deborah Adele