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.