Raja yoga

This is the path of introspection. It encompasses many other separate paths of yoga which we will briefly mention. It is the path in which one attempts to explore the different realms of the mind: conscious, subconscious, unconscious and beyond, fire purpose is to become increasingly aware of these different aspects of being. Raja yoga progressively attempts to transcend the outer environment of the physical body, and direct the awareness to the inner environment. Each person has consciousness; either it can be directed outwards or it can be directed inwards. Either we can be conscious of the external surroundings or we can be conscious of the inner world. Usually our attention is on outer objects. If perception of the external is cut off, as is attempted in raja yoga, then the consciousness must be directed inwards. It has to go somewhere. When it goes inwards it starts to light up our inner existence and we begin to explore ourselves. We normally see only the surface of the ocean of the mind; we don’t see what is below. If we dive into the depths towards the seabed we would see the deeper aspects of the mind that are normally hidden from us. This is the aim of raja yoga in its many forms. We will briefly mention some of the main types.
Patanjali yoga
Patanjali yoga is often identified with raja yoga directly, for they are regarded as synonymous. However, for the sake of argument we will consider raja yoga as being the group name of all the different paths that are introspective in nature. The system of Patanjali yoga consists of eight steps or limbs which the aspirant must progressively master on the path to selfrealization.
Yamas (self-restraints)
Xiyamas (self-observances)
Asanas (postures)
Pranayama (regulation of prana through breath control)
Pratyahara (disassociation of consciousness with the outside environment)
Dharana (concentration)
Dhyana (meditation)
Sanadhi (identification with pure consciousness).

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