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YogaHinduism  > Forms of Yoga >Mantra Yoga > Hatha Yoga > Laya Yoga > Raja Yoga  > About Reiki

                                  Raja Yoga

The Yoga Sutras are built on a foundation of Samkhya philosophy and the Bhagavad Gita. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali prescribes adherence to eight "limbs" or steps (the sum of which constitute "Ashtanga Yoga", the title of the second chapter) to quiet one's mind and merge with the infinite. These eight limbs not only systematized conventional moral principles espoused by the Bhagavad Gita, but elucidated the practice of Raja Yoga in a more detailed manner.

The Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga

The eight "limbs" or steps are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. A number of commentators break these eight steps into two categories. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, and Pratyahara comprise the first category. The second category, called Samyama is comprised of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. The division between the two categories exists because in latter three mentioned steps there is no cognizance whereas in the first five steps cognizance exists.

"Since there is no cognizance to these three stages (ed. Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi), they are not bound by time or succession. The result is that they exist independently and also exist simultaneously. Any one, two or three can exist at the same time. When the three stages exist simultaneously then it is called (ed. Samyamah) the simultaneous existence."

Taken from the commentary on Patanjali Sutra III.4 by Master E.K.

"The Yoga of Patanjali" Master E.K.; Kulapathi Book Trust ISBN 81-85943-05-2

Patanjali divided his Yoga Sutras into 4 chapters or books (Sanskrit pada), containing in all 195 aphorisms, divided as follows:

  • Samadhi Pada (51 sutras)

Samadhi refers to a blissful state where the yogi is absorbed into the One. The author describes yoga and then the means to attaining samadhi. This chapter contains the most famous verses: "Atha yoga anusasanam" ("Yoga begins with discipline") and "Yogas citta vritti nirodha" ("Yoga is control of citta vrittis" - i.e., thoughts and feelings).

  • Sadhana Pada (55 sutras)
Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for "practice". Here the author outlines two forms of Yoga: kriya yoga (action yoga) and ashtanga yoga (eightfold yoga). Kriya yoga, sometimes called karma yoga, is reflected in the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, where Arjuna is encouraged to act without attachment to the results of action. It is the yoga of selfless action or as some have observed, of service. Ashtanga yoga consists of the following levels:
  • Yama = abstentions
These are 5 in number
  • ahimsa = abstention from violence = non-violence to all beings
  • satya = abstention from lying = truth
  • asteya = abstention from theft
  • brahma charya = abstention from sexual activity = continence
  • aparigraha = abstention from possessions
  • Niyama = observances
These also are 5 in number:
  • Saucha = purity
  • Santosha = contentment
  • Tapas = austerities
  • Svadhyaya = study
  • Ishvarapranidhana = surrender to God
  • Asana - Postures of the body
  • Pranayama - Control of prana or vital breath
  • Pratyahara - Abstraction; "is that by which the senses do not come into contact with their objects and, as it were, follow the nature of the mind." - Vyasa
  • Dharana - Fixing the attention on a single object; concentration
  • Dhyana - Meditation
  • Samadhi - Super-conscious state or trance
  • Vibhuti Pada (55 sutras)
Vibhuti is the Sanskrit word for "power" or "manifestation". This book describes the "higher" states of awareness and the techniques of yoga to attain them.
  • Kaivalya Pada (34 sutras)

Kaivalya literally means "isolation", but like most Sanskrit words, used technically, this translation is misleading. In this sense it means emancipation, liberation, used interchangeably with moksha (liberation), which is the goal of Yoga.


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Aum, a term whose three letters suggest the three phases of human experience: "A" referring to the waking state (jagrat), ".U" the dream state (swapna) and "M" the deep sleep state ( sushupti ) .