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Raja Yoga

The path of Raja Yoga focuses on the control of the mind using scientific-like methods. The path was first described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras and comprises of eight limbs (Ashtanga Yoga).
External Practices
1.    Yamas (Restraints)
The following practices support a high moral character. They bring about discipline and go against lower instinctual desires. The restraints consist of non-violence (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), control of sexual energy (brahmacharya), non-stealing (asteya) and non-grasping particularly of gifts or bribes (aparigraha). The restraints support living in harmony with the environment, and developing discrimination and compassion.
2.    Niyamas (Observances)
Like the restraints, the observances are part of the foundation for ethical conduct, and purification. The observances consists of internal and external purification (saucha), contentment (santosha), austerity (tapas), study of scriptures (swadhyaya), and worship of God (Ishwara-pranidhana).
3.    Asanas (Steady Pose)
Physical poses assist the development of a healthy and balanced mind, which in turn supports spiritual practices. Postures should be practiced while meditating one-pointedly on the unlimited, and transcending the body.
4.    Pranayama (Control of Vital Energy)
By restraining the breath, the nervous system becomes stronger, the energy channels become purified. Pranayama increases levels of prana and also balances existing energy. During its practice, purification can bring about subconscious emotional and mental disturbances.
5.    Pratyahara (Withdrawal of the Senses)
This practice is the basis of developing concentration. By withdrawing the senses from objects, the mind is drawn inwards, conserving life force.

Internal Practices
6.    Dharana (Concentration)
As part of learning to control of the mind, developing concentration in an external object or an internal idea is essential. Concentration requires high levels of prana and effort.
7.    Dhyana (Meditation)
During meditation, the concentration developed is now directed towards God. It occurs with unbroken flow and with no distractions from sense perception.
8.    Samadhi (Super-Conscious State)
This state is the goal of Raja Yoga, and existence in general. At this point, the Raja Yogi transcends time, space and causation and goes beyond ignorance, selfishness, and the opposites.