Stages in the Practice of Yoga

According to Patanjali yoga is comprised of 8 parts or stages:

1. Yama – the rules for behaviour; control of negative tendencies.

2. Niyama – the rules that harmonizes relations between man and all beings; it organizes the inner life.

3. Asana – the body positions which place us in resonance with the beneficial energies of the Universe.

4. Pranayama – the practice of controlled respiration that leads to the concentration of  ”prana”; and the conscious directing of this force to all levels of the being.

5. Pratyahara – the practice of withdrawal, removed from external stimuli and sensations perceived by the senses. 

6. Dharana – the stage of absolute concentration; where the consciousness is only aware of the object under focus.

7. Dhyana – the stage of true meditation; in which contemplation concerns the union of consciousness with the surroundings; the yogi is identified with the object of his meditation.

8. Samadhi – the state in which all fluctuations of the mind cease; the state of non-duality, transcendence,  peace, and of fusion with the supreme happiness and blessedness of God.

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